DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Dayton’s Mobile Crisis Response Team is a collaboration between Dayton Police and other agencies to better serve the community when responding to calls.
Made up of five officers, a medic, and two case workers, they work with mental health professionals, addiction facilities, and other community agencies to get people the help they need.
“That is our goal–is to look every day and see who are our people that we’re coming into contact with, what are our locations we’re going to the most,” lists Dayton Police Detective Patty Tackett who helps oversee the team.
A majority of people they deal with have mental health and substance abuse issues or a history of homelessness. The challenge is how to handle each call.
“Is this is a person we need to use our resources on, or is this a person we need to do something different for? And that’s what we have to do. Sometimes we have to think outside the box of normalcy,” says Det. Tackett.
She points out that jail isn’t always the answer, so officers and case workers work together, linking people to resources to get them the appropriate help, which takes time.
“We’re going out–as Patty said–on a day-to-day, a week-to-week basis and seeing the changes in their behavior or their thinking and building that relationship where they begin to trust us,” describes Dayton Police Officer Theo Hines.
Rapport is a crucial part of the response and the new age of policing.
“It’s about individuals on the street not just seeing us as officer, because some people don’t like the police. but having that rapport,” says Dayton Police Officer Carroll.
Case workers are there on the front lines to help people understand that. Dayton Police partnered with Eastway in the fall to match officers with case workers.
“They are riding in the car with the officer,” describes Kim Vogel, the Director of Adult Recovery Services at Eastway Behavioral Healthcare.
“To me that’s just a great feeling to know that they’re able to start caring for themselves.” states case worker Mary Beth Petrosh.
Admittedly, they say sometimes it takes a while to get through to them.
“It’s always a challenge if people are in a state of altered reality,” says case worker Emily Steele.
They know their work is making a difference and is needed now more than ever.
“That’s our goal here–To make this the best that we can, and I think we’re on the right track. I think we’ve got great people assigned to it, and they’re very passionate about what their doing,” states Det. Tackett.
The Dayton Police Department is looking to continue to increase the team and expand resources as the need grows.