Arlington Heights Police Announce Implementation of a Crisis Co-Responder Team (CCRT) with AMITA Health Agreement

Arlington Heights Police SUV in downtown Arlington Heights
Arlington Heights Police SUV in downtown Arlington Heights.

On Monday, March 7, 2022 the Arlington Heights Village Board approved a resolution accepting a United States Department of Justice – Office of Community Oriented Policing grant for the implementation of a Crisis Co-Responder Team (CCRT). This award allows the Village to enter into an agreement with AMITA Health and embed a counselor within the Police Department. A crisis counselor will be available to assist police officers during calls for service (CFS) where an individual may be experiencing a mental health crisis. This new initiative will be made available to the Arlington Heights community beginning on Monday, March 14, 2022.

The grant award is for $250,000 and will fund the program over a two-year period. A majority of the funds are allocated for personnel costs related to the crisis counselors (1 full-time and 1 part-time). Remaining funds will be used to train police officers on the new program and evolving best practices when interacting with someone experiencing a mental health crisis. Counseling staff will typically be available during late afternoon and evening hours when call volume has historically presented the greatest need for crisis intervention.

Police officers will remain the primary first responders to applicable mental health related CFS. However, when an officer determines a person involved may benefit from specialized intervention, the officer will request a counselor respond to offer mental health focused services. The crisis counselor will conduct an assessment and navigate the individual to treatment options that are best suited for their circumstance. Even though they will only be available for immediate response during specific hours, a crisis counselor may conduct outreach on cases referred to them by a responding officer as well as proactively engage with the community. The ultimate goal of the program is to connect people to community-based mental health services, improve the experiences and outcomes of persons in crisis and promote a greater sense of community well-being.

Discussions regarding this type of program originated in August 2020. The Police Department acknowledged a need to proactively address an emerging mental health crisis that was growing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and thereby further enhance community trust. A partnership with AMITA was a natural fit as they have had a presence within our community for several decades. Staff from the Police Department and AMITA drafted an innovative proposal that was submitted and ultimately selected through a highly competitive grant application process.

Implementing this additional community resource supplements and reinforces an existing support network currently available through the Village’s Health and Human Services Department social services staff, Fire Department Emergency Medical Services and the Police Department Victim Services Coordinator.

“This collaborative Crisis Co-Responder program teams responding officers and a crisis counselor during incidents where individuals who may be experiencing a mental health crisis are most vulnerable. De-escalation and, when appropriate, timely access to treatment can provide the greatest chance of success for a person in crisis. We look forward to a continuing partnership with AMITA and building upon a prior positive alliance with their network of mental health providers and treatment services within our community,”

— Chief of Police Nicholas A. Pecora, Jr.

Rick Germann, Vice President for AMITA Health Center for Mental Health, commented that “this year the AMITA Health Center for Mental Health is celebrating its 60th anniversary of serving the Arlington Heights community and I cannot think of a more fitting fashion to celebrate this milestone than by starting a new initiative to better serve our community. We began with a part-time doctor and a social worker and have been adding new programs over the past six decades to mature into the full-service community mental health center that we have today. This program is the latest in a long line of legacy and mission for our Center.”

Additional information on the CCRT program will be posted on the Village’s website in the future.



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