EAST BRIDGEWATER — Chief Scott Allen is pleased to share that the East Bridgewater Police Department has completed its pledge through the One Mind Campaign to improve its response to those suffering from mental health disorders.
In 2017, the East Bridgewater Police Department pledged to join the One Mind Campaign, an initiative that was started by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in an effort to improve the interactions between law enforcement agencies and those with mental illnesses. Departments that pledge to join the campaign are challenged to implement practices within their agency to improve mental health programming, training and procedures within a one to three year time period.
The IACP also provides resources to departments that pledge to join the One Mind Campaign, including a toolkit produced by the Bureau of Justice Assistance with resources for law enforcement agencies looking to partner with mental health providers, a model policy for law enforcement when responding to persons suffering from mental illness, and resources for planning mental health first aid and crisis intervention team program trainings.
“Over the past five-plus years, there has been an ever-increasing need for those suffering from substance use and mental health disorders within the town and surrounding region to receive the proper care and help,” said Chief Allen. “We, as a police department, recognize that there are so many families and individuals suffering from behavioral health issues. We have educated ourselves and our officers in ways in which we can be more effective for our residents by operating through a behavioral lens, and not always in a criminal justice capacity. Our overall goal is to ensure that our community members receive the help and resources that they need.”
The East Bridgewater Police Department has implemented several initiatives to improve its mental health relations, including the establishment of a sustainable relationship through a Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Jail Diversion Grant with the High Point Treatment Center, the creation and implementation of a model policy to address officers’ interactions with those affected by mental illness and mental health awareness and crisis intervention training for all full-time staff. The Bridgewater Police Department is the lead agency on the five town multi-jurisdictional mental health grant.
East Bridgewater Police and the East Bridgewater School District have also worked together to organize and spearhead the Kid In Need Program (KIN). KIN is a police and school department information sharing initiative that aims to identify drug endangered children and children who are witnesses to trauma. The initiative is a part of the effort to ensure that these at-risk children and their families receive the appropriate behavioral health services.