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Cumberland Police Department creates team to respond to mental health, behavioral health issues

CUMBERLAND, Ind. (WISH) — A new program through a local police department is hoping to help people with mental health issues.

The Cumberland Police Department has created the CARE team, which stands for Cumberland Assertive Response and Engagement Team.

The police department has been working with mental health experts, ministers, town officials, community members and first responders.

They plan to create strategies to help people with mental health issues and behavioral problems, including the homeless and veterans.

They also plan to reach out and follow up with people officers tend to run into on calls for attempted suicides, overdoes, immediate detentions, runaways, to provide them with information about resources and help available.

According to Cumberland Police Chief Michael Crooke, they hope to: reduce risk of injury to first responders and those they interact with on the calls, reduce unnecessary arrest, reduce the jail population and caseload for prosecutors and courts and provide a path to help people and families to get the help they may need.

They also hope to eliminate responding to the same home or person multiple times. According to Chief Crooke, in 2017, officers spent 200 hours responding to calls relating to mental health or behavioral health issues. Many of those calls came from the same home.

“These are all mental health behavioral health issues that we want to try to get them the proper help get them hooked up with the correct agencies that they need to deal with get them their medication or whatever and eliminate the times that we have to go to the house,” said Crooke.

For more information, contact the Cumberland Care Unit at 317-894-3525.