Metro to vote on increasing ‘Companions in Care’ program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – After years of scrutiny of Metro Nashville Police’s response to psychological well being calls, Nashville’s “Companions in Care” program is up for extra funding from Metro Council on Tuesday night time.

Companions in Care pairs a Metro Police officer with a psychological well being counselor to exit to the scene collectively to evaluate and deescalate the state of affairs.

“The dispatcher will establish one thing that will be flagged as a potential psychological well being problem. And that appears like lots of various things from any individual who’s being suicidal, any individual’s listening to voices, or any individual’s working across the highway. Plenty of various things,” defined Metro Nashville Hermitage Precinct Officer Ian Hammond.

Hammond and fewer than 10 different officers at his precinct provided to undergo the 40-hour coaching to be a part of the Companions in Care pilot program.

Hammond stated the coaching was well-worth his time. “Issues that we had been lacking earlier than that we’re not now, the response time to having the ability to get somebody there, after which diverting folks out of the felony justice system and into the psychological well being system what they actually need,” he stated.

Claire Kopsky

Metro Nashville Hermitage Precinct Police Officer Ian Hammond

Hammond stated earlier than the advisors had been devoted to their precinct, it may take greater than an hour for a counselor to point out as much as what the officers had deemed a psychological well being name.

“Possibly this individual will not be wanting to attend an hour. Possibly there’s nothing that I can … you already know, I cannot maintain them right here in opposition to their will. They usually’re like, ‘Hey, pay attention, you bought 5 minutes .So that you wouldn’t have any individual right here then like, I am strolling off, ‘”defined Hammond.

With this system in place since June 2021 in Nashville’s North and Hermitage precincts, Companions in Care groups have responded to greater than 1,000 psychological health-related occasions. Of these, solely 10 resulted in an arrest and as a substitute pointed these in disaster to psychological well being assets.

“The one largest enchancment that I’ve seen having this program is the flexibility to try to divert folks away from the felony justice system,” Hammond defined. “That counselor is 100% the one who’s capable of make these selections, and they’re the professionals in that. However, the 40-hour coaching that we went by permits us to establish these points much more to so we’re capable of say, ‘hey, look, one thing’s happening right here. I type of acquired a sense about this one.’ “


Claire Kopsky

Metro Council District 12 Member Erin Evans

“It actually, I believe, in all probability one of the vital important collaborations between a nonprofit group and Metro authorities. Due to Psychological Well being Cooperative partnering with MNPD, partnering with different nonprofits and actually being type of the chief in how we’re responding to psychological well being and behavioral well being challenges in our metropolis, “acknowledged Metro Council Member Erin Evans of this system.

She stated the purpose is to have this system in each precinct and known as it an “fast finances concern.”

“It relieves a number of the stress for MNPD to know every little thing. They don’t have to be a psychologist additionally, along with every little thing else that they’ve accountability for, you already know, they’ll depend on an knowledgeable that is with them to assist deescalate conditions, “Evans stated.

The Central precinct started this system in Might. Evans stated she hopes the info in that space is recorded in a different way to account for what number of incidents are for vacationers versus locals.

“I positively assume it is our greatest effort but. It is one of the vital encouraging packages that I’ve seen Metro fund,” acknowledged Evans. “I simply really feel tremendous grateful that we in Hermitage have had the chance to have it as a result of it has been, I believe, an enormous program for our group. And I really feel very lucky that we have had this chance and I would like different elements of the county to have this identical expertise. “


Claire Kopsky

Psychological Well being Cooperative Outreach Specialist Christian Michael

The Psychological Well being Cooperative (MHC) has been serving the Nashville group as an outpatient clinic for behavioral and psychological well being wants for the reason that Nineteen Nineties. MHC was requested to assist practice Metro Police and the psychological well being counselors for the Companions in Care program.

“Everybody’s at totally different phases of life. They’ve totally different limitations, totally different wants and a few folks simply aren’t prepared. So we’re consistently there for when they’re, will start companies, perhaps generally we cease companies, and we decide up the place we left off, “acknowledged Psychological Well being Cooperative Outreach Specialist Christian Michael.

The vote on Tuesday may broaden this system to extra areas of Nashville – an growth MHC, Councilwoman Evans and Officer Hammond stated could be well-spent funding.

“I cannot say that having a counselor there’ll resolve all of the conditions,” defined Hammond. “However from my expertise, it has been overwhelmingly profitable and helpful for us for us as officers.”


Claire Kopsky

The Psychological Well being Cooperative, which has labored in Nashville for many years, serves as a group outpatient clinic for these with behavioral and psychological well being challenges.


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