Report: Crisis call diversion program for community benefit, requires long-term commitment and expansion

The first three months of the Louisville Metro Crisis Call Division Program (CCDP) pilot program showed clear benefits and underscored the need to provide an acute non-police response for people experiencing a nonviolent behavioral crisis, according to a report by the University of Louisville, the Metro advice was provided.

During the first 49 days beginning with the launch of the program pilot on March 21, 2022 through early May, the CCDP resulted in 119 individuals receiving crisis support and referrals without the involvement of Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers, thereby exonerating those officers 100 hours of time that may have been spent on the calls, the report said. The pilot limited itself to a small geographic footprint in a limited time of day to better understand how the program will expand in scope.

The report, prepared by the U of L Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky (CIK), based in the School of Public Health & Information Sciences, found that Louisville Metro Emergency Services, the lead agency in developing the pilot program, and Seven County Services “have established the foundation to provide non-police responses to behavioral crises” and “create meaningful avenues forward to contribute to public safety in Louisville.”

“The long-term success of the CCDP lies in its development,” says the study. “A development that will require long-term commitment and resources to create a model that provides acute professional help to people in behavioral crises, diverting calls away from the police and avoiding unnecessary institutionalization.”

Mayor Greg Fischer’s budget for fiscal year 2021-22 includes an investment of nearly $5 million for this work as part of his whole government, whole city approach to public safety.

“Our first priority with the Crisis Call Unit program is to get the right care to people with difficulties immediately,” Mayor Fischer said.

“It will also help LMPD by reducing the number of runs officers make in situations that do not require a law enforcement presence. This has the potential to be a win across the board. I appreciate all those who worked so hard to get us this far and all those who continue the work today.”

SEE THE REPORT

The mayor announced plans for the October 2021 pilot on CIK’s recommendation. The city then consulted experts and other cities on best practice before partnering with Seven Counties Services to make mental health professionals available to respond to calls, if necessary.

After months of best practice research and complicated planning, the pilot program began operating in the 4th Division of the LMPD with a single shift, seven days a week. The 4th Division was selected for the pilot because of its high number of crisis intervention-related calls averaging 11.63 per day. More departments were added as capacity improved.

“The Louisville Metro Crisis Call Division Program is part of a national trend to get the right care to people in crisis situations,” said Jody Meiman, who oversees the diversion program in his role as the city’s director of emergency services. “It has already been shown to have benefited over 300 people who needed something other than a law enforcement response or a hospital. We appreciate our Louisville Metro Crisis Call Division Program and the partners who have worked to launch and expand this program.”

“The CCDP program helps delegate the appropriate response to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis,” said LMPD chief Erika Shields. “As officers often encounter challenging situations, it is extremely beneficial to have mental health professionals on our team. We are grateful for this comprehensive response, which not only alleviates 911 calls, but serves to further support LMPD in meeting the needs of the community.”

How the program works:

When a first-time caller calls 911 from a CCDP department, MetroSafe call attendants triage the call to determine through a combination of automated options whether to route the call to Crisis Triage Workers (CTW) at a new Behavioral Health Hub MetroSafe .

The CTW team acts as the crisis hotline operator to de-escalate, provide emotional support, create a safety plan and resolve issues for the person in crisis.

If CTW determines that an in-person response would be beneficial, it initiates a mobile response.

Mobile responders trained in mental health crisis intervention meet the person where they are supposed to further de-escalate and assess the situation and connect the person to the service if necessary. Responders have the option of transporting the individual to the Seven Counties Community Recovery Center or other community facility, such as a hospital. B. an animal shelter to transport.

The University of Louisville’s CIK process and outcomes assessment — the basis for the report released today — included analysis of multiple datasets over the first 49 days of the CCPD, as well as 70 interviews with administrators and task forces, and focus groups with 96 community members.

Over the next year, the program will expand again, with the ultimate vision of having a 24-hour crisis response team operating throughout the Louisville Metro. This team will provide real-time crisis interventions across our community. UofL is expected to review the impact of the program again by the end of FY23.

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