Social workers partner with Waterloo police for mental health crisis calls

Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 11:19 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2021 at 8:40 PM CST
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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - Officials in Waterloo announced on Monday a new partnership between social workers and the Waterloo Police Department in responding to those experiencing mental health crises.

Officials said the program will embed social workers with Elevate Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) in the Waterloo Police Department to provide mental health crisis intervention training to officers. Staff from Elevate will also respond alongside police to those in need.

“The goal of this program is to decriminalize behavioral crises, and reduce stigmas, by having Crisis Specialists available 24/7 both within the Police Department and through Elevate and other service providers,” Waterloo Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said. “Our cooperative and collaborative approach proactively addresses underlying issues that often result in law enforcement intervention, incarceration, or the application of force.”

Elevate has been working with the Waterloo Police Department since January 1, responding to calls involving crisis response.

Officials said a Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies is one the Waterloo City Council’s agenda for the February 15 meeting.

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