The New Castle County Police has partnered with Connections and is announcing the engagement of a Connections Mental Health Professional, Lisa Shaffer. This was accomplished through a grant from the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. The grant will pay for one-year’s salary.
Ms. Shaffer will be partnered with New Castle County Police officer, Colleen Kearns, to make up a Police Connections Alliance Team. Their duties will include responding to active scenes where individuals are in crisis and seeking help from police. They will assess the individual suffering from a mental health episode and determine if an emergency petition is warranted or refer them to an alternative service for follow-up.
By responding quickly to help assess the situation with a licensed clinician we are hoping to reduce incarceration and emergency room visits for the individual in crisis.
The Police Connections Alliance Team will also be responsible for following up on repeat calls for service. The team will stay in contact with the individual and maintain an active role in their treatment plan, thereby reducing the repeat calls for service for patrol.
The collaboration between New Castle County Police and Connections will better serve all the citizens of NCC by dedicating an officer and a licensed clinician to specifically address the needs of those suffering from mental health living within New Castle County.
“This is an amazing model for what policing can be and should be in the 21st Century,” County Executive Matt Meyer said. “New Castle County police are national leaders in providing comprehensive policing, and this new team puts the right people on the street to diffuse volatile situations before there is violence.”
Colonel Vaughn Bond stated, “This is a win win situation for everyone involved especially those that are suffering from mental illness. I hope that this is recognized by all as an effort by the New Castle County Police that demonstrates our commitment to serving those in need and their families.”