Co-responders and Local Police Settling in to New Relationship
By Spencer Powell, Steamboat Springs Pilot & Today
Local law enforcement officers and the staff at Mind Springs Health both say a partnership between these two entities in creating a co-responder program for mental health-related calls has been a blessing.
“It’s a great tool to have,” said Sgt. Evan Noble of the Steamboat Springs Police Department. “Anytime that we can bring in a professional in those areas that we’re not specifically trained in, that’s going to benefit our community a lot more.”
Based on figures given to Mind Springs by Steamboat police, a co-responder assisted officers on 86 calls in 2021— about one every four days.
An approach that has become increasingly popular nationwide after the death of George Floyd in summer 2020, the purpose of the co-responder program is to give mental health professionals an opportunity to assist officers with nonviolent mental health-related calls at an earlier juncture than before.
Previously, mental health professionals would typically have to visit the hospital or jail to treat people experiencing mental health crises.