OPD pilot program reducing arrests by targeting mental health

Orlando police leaders on Monday discussed the future of the "Community Response Team," a pilot program that has been in place for the last year.

The team includes trained mental health and behavioral health professionals who respond to specific, non-violent 911 calls. The goal is to focus on deescalating a crisis situation and helping people get treatment.

So far the pilot program has helped 900 people.

"We’ve actually impacted those who have experienced a mental or behavioral health crisis and to me, that’s a win. So in 12 short months, we’ve made an impact on the lives of the residents in the city of Orlando," explained Capt. Lovetta Quinn-Henry, OPD community relations division.

The program has also saved 300 hours per month of police officers' time, so that those officers could respond to crime and patrol other areas.

They found almost all the mental health related incidents did not end in an arrest or hospitalization. 

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