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Mental Health Mobile Response Team to aid Springfield police

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City of Springfield
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Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams told City Council about plans to implement a new Mental Health Mobile Response Unit at Monday night’s meeting.

Williams said help from the team will allow Springfield police officers to focus on crime-fighting. The mobile team will connect nonviolent people needing mental health assistance to counseling and treatment options, instead of just relying on law enforcement and the justice system after a 911 call.

“We have all of these folks that have come together as partners to implement a mental health mobile response team to respond to subject in mental health crisis and deviate them – eventually – from police response," Williams said.

The project came about after Burrell Behavioral Health – one of several community partners working on the mobile response team including CoxHealth, Mercy, the health department and fire department – received a $600,000 grant.

Williams said mobile team members are currently doing ride-alongs with police officers. Ultimately, 911 dispatchers will help sort some emergency calls for service by the mobile team.

Mayor Ken McClure said the mobile team would be “great for our community.” Councilwoman Monica Horton and Councilman Matt Simpson made similar comments of support.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs and investigations.