Metro police to expand mental health worker, officer partnership to central precinct

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Posted at 1:24 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 13:54:56-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville is expanding its pilot program that pairs mental health professionals with police officers in its downtown area.

The central precinct will be added to Metro's Partners in Care program starting Monday. A Mental Health Cooperative clinician will be paired with a trained "Quality of Life" officer five days a week to respond to behavioral health calls.

Since this program launched last June, officers and mental health workers in the North and Hermitage precincts have responded to 3,000 calls. Police said less than 4% of those calls resulted in an arrest.

The program was created in response to recommendations from Mayor John Cooper’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Advisory Council and the Policing Policy Commission.

Nashville’s co-responding model has four important goals:
1. Improve access to care for those experiencing a behavioral health crisis
2. Divert those in crisis from the criminal justice system to the health care system
3. Improve safety for those in crisis, clinicians, and police officers
4. Improve coordination and communication across systems and service providers

Police said the department plans to launch the program in the south precinct in the next six months. The mayor's office said in February that MNPD plans to train 550 police officers in crisis intervention over the next three years.