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Co-responder team

Mental health crisis workers ride in patrol cars with specially trained law enforcement officers and, as a team, they respond to mental health calls for service and/or follow up with repeat utilizers. The team also links people with mental illnesses to appropriate services or provides other effective and efficient responses.

For a sample related to this intervention, see this resource:
For more information on this intervention, see this resource:
Local Examples

Mobile County, AL

  • As part of a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance, Mobile County partnered with the City of Mobile to create a co-responder team.
  • The mental health crisis worker provides in-home or on-site outreach to people experiencing a mental health crisis, using de-escalation techniques to resolve crises on the scene and prevent arrests.
  • The mental health clinician may transport the person to the local Behavioral Health Crisis Center for immediate treatment, set them up with outpatient services, provide referrals to other agencies and services if necessary, or provide follow up and medication monitoring at home until the person is stabilized.

Dauphin County, PA

  • Four local police departments are currently participating in the co-responder team program. The police departments were identified based on call volume to EMS for assistance with mental health-related concerns.
  • Working with law enforcement, the co-responders assist with calls where behavioral health might be an underlying factor for individuals at risk of arrest. The co-responders can be dispatched along with law enforcement officers on these calls or follow up with individuals to provide an assessment or referral for services if an arrest did not occur.
  • In 2022, co-responders were involved in 3,096 referrals from police officers (either on-scene or as follow-up). Of those referrals, only 133 resulted in charges.

Middlesex County, MA Arlington Police Department

  • The embedded clinician, called the jail diversion clinician (JDC), responds alongside officers to mental health-related calls for service as well as identifies people in the community that could benefit from follow-up contact through data review and community partners.
  • The team performs outreach and follows up with people to provide ongoing support, treatment referrals, and connection to services.
For a sample related to this example, see this resource:
For more information on this example, see this resource:

Los Angeles County, CA Los Angeles Police Department

  • Los Angeles Police Department started the Systemwide Mental Assessment Response Team (SMART) in 1993, making the city one of the first in the nation to develop and implement the co-responder model.
  • The program deploys 17 co-responder teams on a 24/7 basis to support officers in effectively responding to people in crisis through intervention and referral.
For more information on this example, see these resources:

Boulder County, CO Project Early Diversion, Get Engaged (EDGE)

  • Clinicians embedded in local police departments provide on-scene response to calls for service by request of officers, dispatch, or self-staging.
  • Clinicians provide behavioral health follow-up and connection to services.
  • The behavioral health team includes behavioral health clinicians, peer support specialists, and a clinical program supervisor who can be requested for co-response by any officer from participating law enforcement agencies.
For more information on this example, see this resource:

Johnson County, KS

  • The co-responder program embeds mental health professionals in city police departments throughout the county.
  • They respond with law enforcement on site when mental illness is identified as a factor in a call.

For more information on this example, see these resources:

Aurora, CO

  • The Crisis Response Team (CRT) pairs mental health professionals with specially trained police officers to respond to calls for service with a mental health component. The team employs a case manager who is tasked with post-contact outreach to connect the client to local resources.
  • The CRT aims to utilize the lowest level of care needed and, when at all possible, provide treatment on the spot, diverting people away from emergency departments and jails. Clinicians coordinate with community providers, use de-escalation skills, and conduct safety planning to provide the client with the most appropriate level of care.
  • The CRT also houses a Targeted Violence Prevention program that utilizes a public health model to educate the community on targeted violence, conduct behavioral threat assessments, and collaborate with community stakeholders to create and enforce threat management plans.

St. Louis, MO

  • The Justice and Crisis Response Unit (CRU) launched in February 2021 and consists of a clinician from Behavioral Health Response, a community-based provider, and an officer from St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. The program serves as a street triage co-responder model. The model ensures that CRU teams are the first to respond whenever possible, are called to the scene quickly when they are not the first to respond, and continue to follow up on cases after their initial response.
  • The goals of the CRU are to
    • Provide de-escalation for people who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis;
    • Develop a crisis response plan for people who were in crisis and have been stabilized; and
    • Conduct follow-up for people who were in crisis and assist with coordination of care.
  • From February 8, 2021, until August 2022
    • The CRU engaged and diverted 7,584 people in crisis;
    • 91 percent (6,937) of people engaged by the CRU were diverted from hospitalization; and
    • 99 percent (7,490) of people engaged by the CRU were diverted from jail.
For more information on this example, see this resource:

For more information on this example, contact Felicia Spratt,




1 - Reduce bookings into jail
3 - Increase connection to treatment

Last updated: October 3, 2022