Franklin-Medway, Massachusetts - The Franklin Police Department has been awarded a joint grant with the Medway Police Department, and Advocates, Inc. of Framingham, Massachusetts to hire a clinical social worker to assist with cases of people in a mental health crisis. This grant was made possible by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.
The Jail Diversion Program aims to help people in mental health crisis get the assistance they need, and not direct them unnecessarily into the Criminal Justice System. The Clinician will ride with police officers in cruisers and respond directly to calls. They will help evaluate and make recommendations for further care and follow up. This shortens the time on scene for officers, and ultimately leads to a better outcome for those involved.
The initial grant is valued at approximately $300,000, and is good for three years, with renewals possible after that.
Franklin Chief of Police Thomas J Lynch said “This program has been successfully used in several surrounding communities. Mental health crisis calls can be very difficult for officers, and having a highly trained clinician with them will lead to better results for all involved.”
Medway Chief of Police Allen M. Tingley added that “Mental health calls can be stressful, and sometimes volatile. Any tools that we can give our officers to resolve these calls without the use of force, and also reduce the number of repeat calls for service is a win for the Department, and the individual in crisis.
The program is in its initial phase of hiring a clinician, and working on new policies and procedures. It is expected that the program will be fully functioning within two months. Program coordinators for the Jail Diversion Program are Sgt. Brian Johnson of the Franklin Police Department, and Detective Sergeant Matthew Reardon of the Medway Police Department.