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Mobile Crisis Response Team tackles mental health, addiction

By: Catherine Ross

A Dayton group hopes to change the way police respond to mental health and substance abuse calls.

The Dayton Police Department is partnering with Samaritan Behavioral Health Crisis Care, the Dayton Fire Department and other community agencies to form the Mobile Crisis Response Team. It’s comprised of four police officers, a fire EMT, a certified therapist and an overseeing detective.

The program began in 2016 to help the police department reduce overdoses, suicide and other mental health and substance abuse crises.

“A lot of the calls (we respond to) have some form of mental health component, whether they’re getting help or it’s never been addressed,” explained Dayton Police Officer Salli Jones.

Jones underwent crisis intervention training and is assigned to ride with Misty Gobeil, a certified therapist with Samaritan Behavioral Health Crisis Care.

The partners patrol West Dayton and parts of downtown, responding to calls for service and conducting periodic checks on people they’ve previously assisted. They interact with individuals struggling with homelessness, addiction, violence and mental illness and connect them with resources.

Gobeil acts as first-line therapist, typically assessing needs and counseling anyone in distress, then referring them to community services or following up with them.

“It makes it easier for a person to maybe talk about something they wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to an officer at that point,” Gobeil said. “It also helps them see the officer in a different light, where they’re providing services beyond what someone might think a police officer might be doing.”

Gobeil and Jones aim to build rapport by consistently stopping to have conversations and assisting on calls to places where there are frequent calls for service.

The Mobile Crisis Response Team also partners with community agencies, hospitals and jail staff to provide a continuum of services and track progress. The team says its goal is to create lasting solutions for all parties involved.

“I think it’s forward thinking from the Dayton Police Department,” Gobeil said. “We want to make sure people are served on all levels.”

2 News, Nexstar Broadcasting

Jan 9, 2019

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