New program to change law enforcement response to mental health calls

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new program is changing the way law enforcement officials in Albuquerque respond to mental health calls.

As part of the pilot program, mobile crises teams — in addition to officers — will start responding to calls where someone is experiencing a behavioral health crisis, but is not violent.

The teams will consist of a deputy or officer specially trained in mental health response and a behavioral health clinician.

“So we can engage with folks in crisis. Hopefully engage with them. Have a clinician deescalate the situation and provide services in their home, where they’re safe and comfortable in a home setting,” said Margarita Chavez, Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative.

Bernalillo County is contributing $1 million and the City of Albuquerque is giving more than $456,000 to create the teams.

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