Acting AG Platkin Expands Program to Pair Police Officers with Mental Health Professionals

Acting Attorney Matthew J. Platkin announced the expansion of a program that pairs a law enforcement officer with a certified mental health screener to respond together to 9-1-1 calls for behavioral health crises.

The initiative, known as ARRIVE Together (“Alternative Responses to Reduce Instances of Violence & Escalation”), will begin operating a second pilot run jointly by the Elizabeth and Linden Police Departments later this month. The expansion follows a pilot program that was first launched in December and operated out of the New Jersey State Police’s Cumberland County stations based in Bridgeton and Port Norris.

Under the expansion, a screener from Trinitas Medical Center will travel with a plainclothes Elizabeth or Linden police officer in the officer’s unmarked vehicle to respond to 9-1-1 calls for service relating to mental or behavioral health crises during shifts that originate in either the Elizabeth Police Department’s or Linden Police Department’s areas of responsibility. ARRIVE Together shifts will be held two times per week on days alternating between each police department. When not responding to reactive calls, the ARRIVE team will follow up with previous individuals served, as well as proactively visit individuals in the community known to law enforcement that would benefit from such outreach.

“This is another step forward in our ongoing efforts to help avoid tragedies by giving individuals the mental health care they need during crisis situations,” Department of Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “I applaud the Attorney General’s Office, Trinitas, Elizabeth and Linden for their partnership. Improved outcomes between law enforcement and those dealing with a mental health crisis is a shared goal. This is all about saving lives – and starting the process of rebuilding lives.”

“The mental health crisis in our state has expanded exponentially over the past several years, and Police Officers are called upon to assist in these situations at an alarming rate,” said Linden Police Chief David Hart. “This program, combined with our existing initiatives and enhanced training, will further strengthen our relationships and help us better serve this vulnerable part of our community.”

Across New Jersey, a significant proportion of uses of force by law enforcement involve a civilian identified as either suffering from mental illness or who is under the influence. The ARRIVE Together initiative is a recognition that this situation needs improvement, and a step towards achieving better outcomes.

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