Paul A. Nikas, Chief of Police
15 Elm St.
Ipswich, MA 01938
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018
Contact: John Guilfoil
Ipswich Police Partner With Peer Departments to Address Addiction and Mental Health
IPSWICH – Chief Paul Nikas is pleased to announce that the Ipswich Police Department has partnered with five North Shore law enforcement agencies in a Jail Arrest Diversion Program after the City of Beverly received a $90,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
This collaborative partnership grant will be shared among the Ipswich, Beverly, Gloucester, Essex, Manchester and Rockport Police Departments and support the hiring of a full-time co-responder clinician who will help police by answering calls involving individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues.
The goal of this program is to divert people from arrest and to promote treatment interventions as an alternative to further justice system involvement. Longstanding affiliations with regional providers such as Lahey Health Behavioral Services and Eliot Community Human Services create a strong capacity to leverage health provider and treatment services.
The co-responder clinician will be based at the Beverly and Gloucester Police Departments, providing responses as needed to all six member communities. The six partnering communities represent a geographic area of 158 square miles and comprise a shared population of approximately 100,000 people.
“We’re committed to pursuing every possible avenue to better serve the people in our community struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders,” Chief Nikas said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to join this collaborative effort with our law enforcement partners on the North Shore and am optimistic about the impact it will have on our community.”
This new program will bolster the Ipswich Police Department’s ongoing efforts to combat the opioid crisis, including its pre-existing partnership with the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative and the Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation to fund the work of a part-time recovery coach who works directly with Ipswich residents.
“We thank the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health for this generous collaborative grant to support law enforcement who respond to situations involving individuals with mental health and/or substance use issues,” Beverly Mayor Michael Cahill said. “It’s important to divert individuals with behavioral health issues away from the criminal justice system and toward appropriate treatment and recovery services.”