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The original item was published from 9/19/2023 4:03:06 PM to 9/19/2023 8:38:08 PM.

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Posted on: September 19, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Summit Police implement program to enhance mental health crisis response

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Summit, NJ, September 19, 2023 - The Summit Police Department is participating in the New Jersey State Arrive Together program, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at improving response to mental health crises by pairing trained mental health professionals with law enforcement officers during emergency calls involving individuals in mental health distress.

The Arrive Together program, initiated by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the State of New Jersey, recognizes the importance of addressing mental health concerns with compassion, understanding, and specialized expertise. The initiative seeks to help police to de-escalate situations, provide immediate support to individuals in crisis, and ensure the safety of both the community and the responding officers.

"The Summit Police Department is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our community members, including those who may be experiencing mental health challenges,” says Summit Police Chief Steven Zagorski. “By participating in the Arrive Together program, we aim to improve our response to mental health crises and provide individuals in distress with the appropriate care and assistance they need."

Under this program, dedicated mental health professionals will accompany police officers to the scene of mental health-related calls. Their primary role will be to assess the situation, engage with individuals in crisis, and offer immediate support and resources. The program seeks to improve the overall quality of crisis response and minimize the likelihood of incidents escalating into violence or harm.

"This initiative is a significant step forward in enhancing the safety and well-being of our residents,” explains Summit Mayor Nora Radest. “By combining the expertise of our police force with trained mental health professionals, we are taking a proactive approach to better addressing mental health crises in our community." 

The Arrive Together program aligns with the broader efforts in the County of Union to prioritize mental health awareness, reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, and enhance crisis intervention services. By fostering collaboration between law enforcement and mental health professionals, the program aims to create a safer and more compassionate environment for all residents.

The Summit Police Department is currently implementing the Arrive Together program and expects it to be fully operational in coming weeks. 

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