UM, Partner, Officer discussed on PM Tampa Bay with Ryan Gorman

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You know boots on the ground, so to speak first responder, but also the ability to have multiple lights and staff that are available to assist and respond in scenarios with Baker acts and March, Max. And as you and the CP Police department know better than I do. Some of these calls that could seem like they're not necessarily going to be violent or Escalate to a situation where the person responding could end up in danger. Some of the people, especially with certain mental health issues, things can escalate quickly and they can become violent. That's where I was worried about the community liaisons. But if law enforcement is with them with this initial rollout that seems to make a lot of sense to make Absolutely, and you know Are are con center reviews and that's called That's something that they've always done. You know, we do have you know that type of information, and we also will be, um, you know, quite conservative as we roll out the program with against sending out calls for different types within those calls categories that I mentioned before again. We want this program to be successful. We want this program to be Beneficial in our community, and and we do We feel that this really makes ah, large difference to allow train human services, professional toe, do the good work that they do. I'm joined by Megan McGee, Special projects manager at the same People East Department. We're talking about their new program, community assistance and life liaisons or call for this first phase. This initial rollout of the program. Let's say there is a call. It's a mental health related call. You have the officer and you have the community liaison going out together. Like you said, who takes the lead? Once they arrive on the scene. Is it initially going to be the police officer and then their community liaison will be there to assist or will it be the other way around? How is that going to work? We really want to let the experts do the good work that they do so absolutely in a scenario of the mental health call, um, that they would respond together, But as far as kind of leading the call we we do want them to have that increased responsibility. To be able to handle those types of calls. I'm assuming and correct me if I'm wrong within the same people this department, this program is likely pretty popular because you have somebody else dealing with certain issues on these calls that they're just better equipped to deal with than our police. What the community response to it. Was this an idea that came out of the protests and all of that In the summer of 2020 the discussions between the community and the police department as it had a lot of initial support on that front, right? Well, you know, the The idea and kind of the building of this program. You know, Some of the pieces were already in place before some of the you know some of the activities and demonstrations over the summer, both locally and nationally. Um You know, our chief of police is a big proponent of community policing, which, um, looks at ways to, um, you know, partner with the community, create relationships and not just be solely on enforcement. Um, I mentioned the path unit, which is the the police unit. That call will be embedded with And again just the creation of a unit is that was on a several years ago, and that was kind of an innovative idea that that she's had to be able to respond to homeless related issues in a different way, you know and again, not have this ongoing cycle of You know, arrest and then you know, back on the street being able to try to provide services transport to shelter things like that. So we had pieces of it already kind of in place, and we had also Aren't really looking at calls that we were receiving that weren't police matters. You know, somebody's child didn't want to go to school. Um, you know, Somebody you know, had a knish you with the laundry mat. They didn't get their quarters out way were we were starting to look at. You know what is the best way? You know, toe deploy our officers in a way that is truly in line with public safety, So I would say some of those decisions were certainly already occurring. But, you know, I think, certainly as a as an organization and the great work that are the men and women of the police department. Do this is something for the most part, I think has been completely welcome because Um, you know they are trained. They are good at what they do, but this is not the job that they signed up to do. They are not trying to be the social workers and you know these things kind of came together, and it really allowed us an opportunity. Again to look at it. Reimagine Who can we partner with? That has the expertise to be able to really deliver these services in our community. I'm sure there are some listening who will want to know the answer to this question. So let me gotten ask it. This program the implementation of this program, the creation of it, It's in no way part off a larger effort to defund The same people East Department. Correct. Excellent question. I'm glad that you asked that we are not be funding the police and this is more of a reallocation of resources, the funding that we utilize or the pilot Actually came from dollars that we had earmarked that would have been used as a match for another, basically, a grant that we had, um, from the federal government. Finally, is there any other information about the program that you want to let everyone know about? Obviously, those who live in ST Pete were directly impacted by this, But I also think the other law enforcement agencies in the region they're gonna be watching this to see how it plays out and perhaps Create their own programs based off of what you're doing. What works. What doesn't all of that? So is there any other information about the program that you want to make Sure everyone has and also for people listening If they just want to find out more about it, How can they do that? Absolutely. We will be doing some community conversations, Community engagement section. I believe we will probably have them virtually, You know, just to be mindful of our current situation with covert numbers. We will have some additional information out. There are social media are partner Gulf Coast again. They have some great information on their website as well and they are actively Recruiting staff, the individuals that would be doing this work, so I know that they are definitely putting, you know things out there. Um, you know, the Focus with this program again, You know, we see great. Benefit from having proactive and follow up contacts with these again highest utilizes the service to reduce these repeat calls, and our partner will also ensure that the individuals they served Have access to a 24 7 numbers so they can call on that directly and not keep going, You know, to 91 word for don emergency needs, so it really is beneficial for the community and so many different ways. Um, and it's also worth stating as well. This is not a 85 program. We're staffing it 14 hours a day, seven days a week. Um, and there's hours will depend on call volume and things like that for the call types that we've identified. Um And for anyone that's interested again in the program. They certainly can reach out to me. Um and I would like I said. For those of you that are you're not familiar with schools of Jewish family and community services. I definitely urge you to check them out as well. They have a long time history in Pinellas.

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