COUNTY 911 DISPATCHERS TO RECEIVE MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING
November 02, 2017
Sharon Corrigan, County Board Chair 608.333.2285
Crisis intervention key piece of 2018 budget amendments
All Dane County 911 dispatchers would receive mental health crisis intervention training under an amendment to the proposed 2018 county budget.
The two-day training, to be conducted by staff from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), is part of Dane County’s nationally-recognized effort to reduce incarceration rates.
“One way to limit the jail population is to divert those with mental health issue from the criminal justice system,” said Dane County Supervisor Paul Rusk, chairman of the board’s Public Protection and Judiciary Committee. “Helping our 911 people make crucial decisions during a crisis can be a key part of that.”
The crisis training would increase the county operating budget by $57,655 to cover overtime costs for Public Safety Communications staff plus another $5,000 for the training itself. The training would also be available to staff from the new Beacon homeless day center.
The Public Protection and Judiciary Committee this week also approved several other amendments related to mental health.
One amendment clarifies the scope of a $100,000 comprehensive review of existing mental health services already included in Dane County Executive Joe Parisi’s proposed 2018 budget. The PP&J committee added language calling for that review to “assess current mental health services system provided by both public and private funders.”
The committee also set a Sept. 1, 2018 deadline for completion of the review and directed study results be used for development of a mental health crisis alternative to jail. The deadline would allow time for any recommendations to be included in the county's 2019 capital budget.
“The mental health community work groups made it clear that its top priorities included developing a crisis center alternative to jail,” said PP&J committee member Supervisor Carousel Bayrd. “The County Board has been working on this for several years and it’s past time to finally move this forward.”
The mental health review itself would be guided by a steering committee composed of the Director of the Human Services Department, or her designee, a member of the PP& J Committee and a member of the Health and Human Needs Committee appointed by the chair of that committee.
In addition, the committee instructed the county’s Equity and Criminal Justice Council Coordinator to pursue national funds and technical assistance to introduce the sequential intercept model which advances community-based solutions for people with mental and substance use disorders.
“Dane County has already taken steps to divert individuals from the criminal justice system, including establishing a restorative court and pre-trial screening of offenders,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan. “These amendments to the budget will further those efforts.”
The County Board will consider the final budget at a special meeting on Monday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. in Room 201 of the City-County Building.