Metro Police partner with mental health cooperative in new pilot response program
By: Erika Glover
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Imagine having metal health specialists working hand-in-hand with Metro Police officers. These clinicians would decide what type of intervention and mental health care is best.
Take for example body camera video captured back in May of Metro Police during a nearly four hour negotiation, that lead to the officer involved shooting death of 23-year-old Jacob Griffin. His mother initiated the 911 call to help her homeless son.
“He is schizophrenic and for about the last hour has been texting me messages that he plans to kill me and other people,” Griffin’s mother exclaimed during the 911 call. “He is armed and I personally would consider him dangerous, but he has never actually been violent. I really don’t want police to kill him.”
That’s an example of a deadly situation that first responders are increasingly up against. Now Metro Chief John Drake said they’re incorporating a new co-response pilot program with Mental Health Cooperative.
FOX 17 News asked how a program like this one could impact similar potential situations in the future.
Metro Nashville Police Department Inspector David Imhoff responded by saying, “I think every situation is going to be unique. Even on that call there were representatives from Metro Health Cooperative at the scene that was advising. We would love to be able to predict a great outcome on every single call we go to, but a lot of times these calls are unpredictable.”
Sixteen officers from Metro’s North and Hermitage precincts are volunteering to have mental health experts respond with them on everyday calls to better assess how to de-escalate tense situations and provide suitable treatment.
“If we went out on someone who was suicidal last week or someone who had a mental health crisis last week to continue to follow-up on them so they don’t on the future fall back into crisis,” said Inspector Imhoff
The program is set to be implemented on June 28 as a pilot program. This is why FOX 17 News asked what it will take to make sure the program sticks around.
“The pilot program is to find out over the next 12 months you know what works and what doesn’t work and how do we continue into the future,” Imhoff explained.