At their Nov. 10 meeting, the City Commissioners unanimously voted to establish an enhanced crisis intervention response unit.
The unit, called the Tallahassee Emergency Assessment Mobile Unit (TEAM), will respond to calls for non-violent mental or behavioral issues as well as Baker Act calls.
“Sometimes a response by the police department is not always what’s needed,” said Mayor John Dailey in a Twitter video following the vote. “What is needed is a higher level of service.”
Mayor Dailey also stated that “several months ago I called for mental health response teams in our community. I am proud that today we approved the creation of an enhanced crisis intervention response unit that can respond to calls and provide immediate medical or psychological stabilization when necessary.”
The unit will be made up of three people: a licensed mental health professional, a specially trained plainclothes Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) officer and a Tallahassee Fire Department (TFD) paramedic or emergency medical technician, staff reports. Apalachee Center will enter into an agreement with the City to provide two licensed mental health professionals for the TEAM.
Staff reports that the professionals on the team will be equipped to provide immediate medical or psychological stabilization plus assessment and referral for additional services when necessary.
The TEAM aligns with the City’s strategic priority to enhance public safety. It also aims to break down stigmas surrounding mental health and improve the relationship between law enforcement and the community.
“When we get those 911 calls and it’s more appropriate for a mental health professional to be on scene, we’re going to send the team,” Dailey said.
The City Commission has already approved $500,000 in funding for the program as part of its Fiscal Year 2021 budget.
The pilot program is expected to start by Spring 2021.