LAWRENCE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Lawrence Mayor Kendrys Vasquez and the city's police department announced a new plan Wednesday to create a mental health crisis management program to work with the police department.
This plan will create a Crisis Intervention Team that will employ mental health professionals to help officers respond to incidents involving individuals experiencing mental health crises.
The mayor will include $117,000 of funding in the city's budget to hire two mental health professionals to lead the program.
The team will consist of a collaboration between law enforcement, mental health and addiction professionals, and individuals who live with mental illness and their families.
The plan aims to provide police officers with crisis-intervention training to them better handle situations involving mental health crises and help those with mental health issues or substance abuse disorders access medical treatment, according to a statement from the city.
The mayor's office said the plan also promotes safety for officers and individuals experiencing a crisis.
As a part of the plan, the mayor helped the city to apply for an Equitable Approaches to Public Safety grant with the Department of Public Health. The grant gave the city $450,000 to help fund programs partnered with the team over the next five years.