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James Madison University Police Department to roll out crisis intervention program


by Ginny Cramer

 
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Harrisonburg, Virginia – Thanks to a $350,000 grant from the Department of Justice, the James Madison University Police Department is launching a new program to incorporate mental health professionals as co-responders to emergency calls.

As part of the program, the JMU police department will hire mental health professionals to work alongside sworn law enforcement officers as they respond to calls for service involving individuals with mental health crises. The mental health professionals will receive response training and will engage with individuals to bring potentially dangerous situations to a peaceful and productive end. 

“Effective mental health response requires assistance from proven professionals. This program will allow law enforcement to address the immediate needs of an individual in crisis and then open new avenues to follow up and provide wrap-around services,” said JMU Police Chief Anthony Matos.

The goal of the program is to reduce the potential for mental health calls to escalate due to police response. The presence of a mental health expert on-scene provides an immediate gateway to needed mental health care.

The program is expected to roll out with the start of the spring semester; grant funding runs through August 2024. 

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 Contact: Ginny Cramer, cramervm@jmu.edu 

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Published: Monday, November 28, 2022

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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