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Salisbury police awarded $75,000 grant for mental health partnership

by DrewLUD
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A new strategy is in the works for community policing in Salisbury — one that leaders hope will innovate the way officers respond to mental health crises.

The Salisbury Police Department is among the three recipients of this year’s Police Reform and Racial Justice Grants through a partnership between The United States Conference of Mayors and Target. The $75,000 award announced Monday will go toward a “Salisbury Police Mental Health Collaborative Partnership.”

Neighborhood meetings and workshops about the state of policing in Salisbury had already been underway when the opportunity to apply for the grant emerged, Police Chief Barbara Duncan said in a Monday news conference.

Leaders continued to circle back to a “co-responder model” as a potential next phase. This setup would partner a police officer with a social worker to address community needs.

About six or seven years ago, the police department chose not to step away from responding to calls for service related to social welfare, which includes mental health, Duncan explained.

Since then, the police department has incorporated de-escalation training, collaboration with the city’s homelessness coordinator to get people into stable housing and partnership with prosecutors to divert certain issues out of the courtroom altogether.

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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service