Arlington Police Department
Frederick Ryan, Chief of Police
112 Mystic St.
Arlington, MA 02474
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Arlington Police Department Selected as One of Four New Agencies in U.S. to Become Mental Health Learning Site
ARLINGTON — Chief Frederick Ryan is pleased to announce that the Arlington Police Department has been selected as one of four new Law Enforcement Mental Health Learning Sites in the U.S., and will serve as an example of how police can improve relations with those suffering from mental illnesses.
As a Law Enforcement Mental Health Learning Site, the Arlington Police Department will provide resources for state and local law enforcement agencies that are developing or enhancing a Police-Mental Health Collaboration (PMHC), such as a crisis intervention team, co-response team, mobile crisis team, case management approach, or tailored approach, to more effectively respond to people with mental illnesses.
Arlington Police will also be available to answer questions from the field, host site visits, and work with Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center staff to develop materials for practitioners and community partners.
The CSG Justice Center chose the Arlington Police Department to be one of four new nationwide learning sites given the success of the Arlington Jail Diversion Program and Arlington Opiate Outreach Initiative (AOOI). In an effort to expand the knowledge base for law enforcement agencies interested in starting or enhancing a PMHC program, the CSG Justice Center, with assistance from a team of national experts and the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, now has 10 police departments acting as national law enforcement mental health learning sites.
“It is an honor to be one of 10 agencies in the country recognized by the CSG Justice Center as a resource for our law enforcement partners and mental health agencies looking to expand their services,” Chief Ryan said. “We have seen our approach in Arlington work successfully, and hope to help other cities and towns achieve the same results.”
Through the AOOI, which was implemented in June of 2015 and blends police work and community engagement to assist those suffering from addiction and mental illness, Arlington Police have expanded access to Naloxone (nasal Narcan) to people in the community. Additionally, the department’s mental health clinician, who has taken on the role of AOOI coordinator, holds regular meetings with residents to provide services, resources and treatment options that help empower families to get their loved ones the help they need to recover. The AOOI has made such an impact in Arlington that it has been implemented by police departments, cities and towns throughout the U.S.
First launched in November 2010, the Jail Diversion Program works to prevent people with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders from entering the criminal justice system. Having its own in-house mental health clinician has allowed the Arlington Police Department to connect residents with treatment and services, prevent unnecessary trips to emergency departments and has shortened the length of time officers spend at mental health calls for service.
Due to both the Arlington Opiate Outreach Initiative and the Jail Diversion Program, Arlington Police officers have undergone numerous training sessions that have prepared the department for its learning site status. Areas of specialized instruction include mental health first aid, autism, substance abuse, hoarding, veteran services, domestic violence, elder abuse, Narcan and crisis de-escalation.
The three other newly selected CSG sites include the Madison County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio and the Tucson Police Department in Arizona.