Lansing Police Department rolls out new program to better respond to crises

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – No guns, no flashing lights, no uniforms — Just care.

The Lansing police department is implementing a new program to better help serve mental health crises. The program is a collaboration with social workers, police officers and the fire department.

Lansing police social work supervisor Jessica Martin said this effort is supposed to meet the needs of those who need it most.

“This team would be dedicated to problem solving and connecting the city of Lansing residents to the resources and support that are already available in the community,” Martin said.

LCAT stands for Lansing Crisis Assessment Team where the police will work with mental health and social welfare services to get people the right care as opposed to putting them in the criminal justice system.

Martin said usually when people are going through a mental health crisis they call 911, which sometimes doesn’t help.

“It’ll be a little different than typical police response because we will have the social work element there so we can do some more in-depth assessment that maybe a law enforcement officer wouldn’t have training in,” said Martin

So, this is how LCAT works: social workers will be teamed up with crisis-intervention-trained officers and the Lansing fire department and they will respond to crisis calls. This can be anything ranging from people experiencing mental health issues to someone dealing with homelessness.

“Step in the right direction I don’t see it getting any better without these teams in place to get out there and spread that word and get them the resources that they need,” said Lansing police chief Ellery Sosbee. “Because not everyone needs a police officer when they call 911.”

Community Mental Health Association is one of the services that would be working with these patients after that initial call is made.

Shana Badgley is a Crisis Clinician at Community Mental Health Association.

“Let’s provide what’s really needed, let’s not scare people or you know put them in the back of a police car,” said Badgley

Badgley said with this program it will help callers experience less traumatizing situations.

LCAT is still working on hiring more social workers and officers to work in this program. It’s expected to launch next year.

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