New Funding Will Support Crisis Response in New Bern

NEW BERN, NC (WITN) – Officers with an East Carolina police department are getting extra help while in the field.

Senator Thom Tillis recently announced $1 million in grants to North Carolina law enforcement agencies.

As part of this award, the New Bern Police Department will receive $350,000.

Funding comes from the US Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services – or COPS programs for crisis intervention.

The department already has crisis advisers, or “co-respondents”.

“If an officer is on the scene and they need a co-respondent, roughly an available officer, we will go through the police department and pick up the co-respondent and take them to that location,” said said Lt. Donald. McInnis explained.

However, now with the grant, McInnis says what is currently just two crisis workers – will soon become a team of them.

As McInnis points out, the need for crisis intervention on calls involving behavioral and developmental health issues is common.

“In the first six months, co-responders answer about 200 calls; you have a trained behavioral health professional who can handle that aspect of the call,” McInnis said.

New Bern police say about 88% of their calls involving a crisis counselor prevented involuntary commitments to rehab centers or arrests.

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