Mental health clinicians to assist officers

The Georgetown Police Department is collaborating with Connections Community Support Program in pairing officers with mental health clinicians.

In response to the opioid epidemic, law enforcement agencies nationwide are referring people with mental health or substance abuse problems to treatment, rather than arresting them. Treatment can be more effective and less expensive than criminal justice system.

"As we combat the opioid epidemic, the ability to have a resource with immediate presence expedites the process to get those in crisis the help they need," said GPD Chief R.L. Hughes.

The GPD/Connections partnership began in early March 2019 and is the first of its kind in Sussex County. The New Castle County and Smyrna Police Departments partnered with Connections for similar programs last year, with the New Castle officer/clinician teams alone contacting and assessing over 100 people. 

"We’ve known for years that we can’t arrest our way out of these issues, and this partnership creates the mechanism to get people into treatment,” said Connections Director of Criminal Justice and Community Partnerships Amy Kevis.

The partnership is paid for by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.