The multi-agency Community Response Team (CRT), which addresses mental health calls made to Tulsa’s 911 system, reported its first-year impact on the reduction of police and fire runs since launching in February 2018.
CRT is an integral part of the City of Tulsa’s Community Policing program. It is a mobile mental health unit comprising three co-responders from Tulsa Police, Tulsa Fire and Family & Children’s Services’ Community Outreach Psychiatric Emergency Services (COPES).
Funding through private donations and a Tulsa Area United Way community collaboration grant allowed the team to respond to calls for two full days of each week for the past year and has since been renewed for year two.
"We are thrilled to see that the CRT is already proving highly successful at saving money and saving lives. Mental health crisis calls can be best served by a team that includes a mental health specialist from Family & Children's Services COPES program," said CEO Gail Lapidus.
As a rapid response team, the agencies work together to create more efficiency in operations and treatment while also de-escalating situations with individuals in mental health crisis, helping avoid costly stays in jail, hospital emergency rooms, and inpatient behavioral health hospital units. The team responds to mental health calls and assists clients with alternative resources without calling upon additional public safety personnel.
The collaboration was based on a model in Colorado Springs. In 2016, Mental Health Association Oklahoma brought partners to observe their operations and bring the concept to Tulsa.
“CRT is a game changer. It intervenes and helps people at a point when they are vulnerable and need these services the very most,” said Michael Brose, Mental Health Association Oklahoma Chief Empowerment Officer.
You can read the full report online.