Explore the development of a regional mental health services unit with partner Best Southwest cities
1. Establish a regional steering committee to investigate regional partnership to develop a mental health services unit | Police Department | Start FY 2021 Q1 | Complete FY 2021 Q4
2. Create a regional mental health needs report | Police Department | FY 2021 Q2 | Complete FY 2021 Q3
3. In collaboration with partner cities, develop a regional mental health action plan including an operating and capital budget | Police Department | Start FY 2021 Q3 | Complete FY 2021 Q4
4. Identify grant opportunities to support costs related to a regional mental health services unit | Police Department | Start FY 2021 Q1 | Complete FY 2021 Q4
5. Provide ongoing mental health training to DeSoto police officers | Police Department | Start FY 2021 Q1 | Complete FY 2021 Q4
6. Identify and recommend potential mental health diversion programs to regional partners | Municipal Court | Start FY 2021 Q1 | Complete FY 2021 Q4
7. Conduct a town hall meeting to review outcomes of DeSoto’s Mental Health Services Unit | Police Department | Start FY 2021 Q4 | Complete FY 2021 Q4
8. Develop a dispatch plan and policy for dispatching regional mental health unit services | Southwest Regional Communications Center | Start FY 2021 Q1 | Complete FY 2021 Q4
2nd Quarter Update
Numerous planning meetings have been conducted both internally with City of DeSoto staff as well as regional partners in expanding the CARE Team to focus on a regional service delivery model. A draft Interlocal Agreement has been created to align municipal court services and will be shared with regional partners during Q3. The City of DeSoto was awarded a $1.9 million grant through Dallas County to plan for and staff a future regional CARE Team with the Cities of DeSoto, Duncanville, Cedar Hill, Lancaster, and Glenn Heights. As part of that grant, the cities are working together to hire a regional coordinator to move the planning effort forward. A needs assessment was conducted by the CARE Team to include neighboring cities regarding the number of people referred to mental health providers by way of the public safety system. Mental health training opportunities for DeSoto public safety personnel is underway with additional training classes being scheduled later in 2021. Communication center staff began taking the certification course for mental health dispatching and will continue through 2021 until all staff are trained.
1st Quarter Update
The City of DeSoto created its own Crisis Assessment and Resource Engagement (CARE) Team with the goal of proactively engaging residents with mental health challenges as a diversion to entering and cycling through the criminal system. DeSoto's CARE Team is fully operating from its new location at the DeSoto Public Library. The CARE Team is working with the DeSoto Municipal Court to identify and establish procedures for mental health cases to avoid filing of criminal charges if certain treatment and engagement efforts are being met by the resident. A grant was submitted to Dallas County requesting funding to support regional planning and coordination for a regional version of DeSoto's pilot CARE Team in Year One with additional operational funding in Year Two. Staff is coordinating preliminary discussions with other Best Southwest Cities in January to begin the Needs Assessment process and to begin coordination efforts. The Southwest Regional Communication Center has developed codes for identifying mental health calls for reporting purposes, and is finalizing dispatch protocols for mental health calls for service. DeSoto police officers are also being trained on responding to mental health calls.