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Since 2016, the department has run a co-responder program — similar to what St. Louis launched in January — that has mental health professionals accompany police officers on calls that could turn dangerous, such as cases where someone might be armed.
And last summer, the department launched its Outreach Case Coordinator program that employs seven case managers who follow up with people who contact police for mental health or other nonviolent calls. The coordinators help them find long-term help including jobs, housing and health care, Pazen said.
“The STAR program has gotten most of the attention and it’s been successful, the follow-up is just as impactful if you want to have long-term results,” he said.
Pazen said officers in his department embraced STAR. In its first six months, about 35% of STAR calls came from police calling the team to incidents after determining their resources would be a better fit.
Unlike St. Louis, however, Denver had a special funding source that provided the $200,000 needed to cover STAR’s first six months.
In November 2018, Denver voters approved a 0.25% sales tax to create a fund specifically for behavioral health services in the city.
Jones said that even without a similar tax, she is working to identify funding that could support similar efforts in St. Louis.
Originally Appeared Here