SPECIAL TO THE TIMES-GEORGIAN
Over the next three years, the City of Carrollton will receive $550,000 from a Department of Justice grant to expand and enhance the Carroll County Crisis Response Team.
The funding comes from the DOJ’s Connect and Protect: Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Responses program which supports law enforcement-behavioral health collaboration to improve public safety responses and outcomes for individuals with mental illness and substance abuse issues.
In partnership with Carroll County Mental Health Advocates, the city will use the funding to expand the Carroll County Response Team’s reach within the community. CCMHA is a non-profit organization with the mission to be the missing link for individuals and families impacted by mental illness and addiction in Carroll County. The advocates are responsible for the start up and management of the Carroll County Crisis Response Team.
Carrollton is one of 36 communities in the nation to get these dollars, a list that includes much larger, urban cities like Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles, California and Miami, Florida.
“The creation of a mobile crisis response team was a big pie-in-the-sky dream for me and this organization,” said Jodie Goodman, executive director of Carroll County Mental Health Advocates. “To see it come to fruition and make a difference for our neighbors during their most vulnerable time is truly a blessing.
“I am so thankful our local leadership saw this concept through. Specialized services like the Crisis Response Team are not just for big urban areas. We have just as big a need here in our community, too,” Goodman added.
The CCCRT tries to address mental health crises without arrest, jail time or further trauma for citizens and reduce the use of emergency and law enforcement resources for mental health crises. CCCRT operates under the Respond, Resolve and Refer model: Respond to 911 psychiatric crisis calls in a specialized unit, provide on-site intervention to de-escalate and Resolve mental health crises and Refer individuals to community health providers and other resources as needed.
Currently, the CCCRT consists of one unit and one team that covers 504 square miles of Carroll County. The new funding will bring additional staffing and much needed resources. To date, the team has responded to more than 350 calls, of which only one has resulted in an arrest.
“The addition of the Crisis Response Team has been a huge relief to law enforcement,” said Lieutenant Greg Falls of the Carrollton Police Department. “We are so thankful to have a trained, licensed professional that can respond to these mental health crisis calls, help de-escalate the situation and get the client admitted to the mental health treatment they need, rather than having to make arrests.”
CCCRT was developed by a partnership among CCMHA, City of Carrollton, Carrollton Police Department, Carroll County Board of Commissioners, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Willowbrooke/Tanner Medical Center, Pathways Center, Community Foundation of West Georgia and Steve Adams. It began operating in April, 2021.