A program run by the Miami-Dade Police Department and Thriving Mind South Florida has been named a Law Enforcement Mental Health Learning Site by the Council on State Governments Justice Center.

Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Sites are a resource for agencies looking to tailor successful implementation strategies and response models to address their own distinct problems and circumstances.

See full announcement on programs here.

Jurisdictions around the country are exploring strategies to improve the outcomes of encounters between law enforcement and people who have mental health needs.

“The Miami-Dade Police Department is fully vested in providing those with mental illness the highest levels of police services, to include referrals to professional resources.  I am excited about this partnership, which is essential in keeping our community and our officers safe through the services set in place by the Florida Department of Children and Families and Thriving Mind of South Florida,” said Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

Thriving Mind and Miami-Dade Police have been collaborating since about 2018, said Carol Caraballo, Thriving Mind’s vice president for behavioral health.

“Our collaboration continues to grow with MDPD, and we are excited about this new designation,” Caraballo said.

Thriving Mind has a number of community partners, in addition to MDPD and other police agencies.

“Our partnerships with the community – including police agencies and schools – are critical to our success in support of vulnerable populations. We are grateful for our collaboration with MDPD and look forward to our future work together” said John W. Newcomer, M.D., president and CEO of Thriving Mind.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center, with support from a team of national experts and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, began the program in 2010 as a way to help public safety personnel from around the country implement effective responses to people with mental health needs. The program started with an initial group of 6 highly innovative agencies to serve as peer-to-peer learning sites. Since then, it has continued to expand and regularly deliver assistance and training to law enforcement and mental health practitioners nationwide.

The Miami-Dade County Police Department operates:

  • a co-responder unit
  • a threat management section that works with individuals who have been placed on psychiatric holds under the Baker Act.

In conjunction with Thriving Mind, they provide ongoing case management services to people who have come into contact with these specialty units.

The Data Access and Collaboration on Treatment Alternatives program (DACOTA) is a data collection program that collects information on treatment history, care coordination, violence risk, recidivism, mental health functioning, and referrals to treatment in order to improve the way the department responds to people in crisis.

For more information go here.