BURLINGTON — Chief Michael Kent is pleased to announce that the Burlington Police Department will receive a $500,000 Cummings Foundation grant that will support the Burlington Mental Health Initiative for the next decade.
The grant money will allow the Department to:
- Hire a part-time Problem Solving Analyst who will gather, analyze and share information regarding under-served populations facing mental-health challenges.
- Continue its lease of its VirTra virtual reality training simulator, which allows first responders to train collaboratively, focusing on de-escalation techniques and positive outcomes.
- Create a formal schedule for the Burlington Community Response Team, which consists of the Burlington Police and Fire Departments, town boards and other departments, and Lahey Hospital and Medical Center. The BCRT will identify mental-health challenges in the community and use its expertise to address those challenges.
The Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program primarily supports nonprofits in Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. Forty previous $100,000 grant recipients, including the Burlington Police Department, were selected for larger 10-year grants in recognition of their success.
“Mental health is a continuing challenge in our community, one that has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chief Kent said. “This grant will allow the Department and our partners to have the tools to de-escalate a mental health crisis and help those who need services.”
“With this grant we will be able to build upon the great strides we have made through Burlington Police’s Mental Health Initiative, which was undertaken in 2018 with another generous grant by the Cummings Foundation,” said Capt. Greg Skehan, who led the application process and will oversee the program. “We will be better able to identify challenges in the community, and address them pro-actively instead of reactively.”
Chief Kent, Deputy Chief Thomas Browne and Capt. Skehan have been invited to formally accept the grant at a Cummings Foundation virtual ceremony on Thursday, June 10, 2021.