Arlington Police Department Leads the Way with Mental Health Liaison Unit
By Arlington Police Department
Posted on August 07, 2020, August 07, 2020

The original collaboration between Tarrant County My Health My Resources and the Arlington Police Department consisted of officers utilizing an established hotline for consultation while on calls in the field. Beginning in 2009, Tarrant County MHMR provided a designated liaison to work within the APD system. Since then, we have seen this program continue to grow and gain momentum as the demands for outreach increased, and we see the additional demands placed on mental health responses across our city.

The original collaboration between Tarrant County My Health My Resources and the Arlington Police Department consisted of officers utilizing an established hotline for consultation while on calls in the field. Beginning in 2009, Tarrant County MHMR provided a designated liaison to work within the APD system. Since then, we have seen this program continue to grow and gain momentum as the demands for outreach increased, and we see the additional demands placed on mental health responses across our city.

In 2019, a full time Mental Health Liaison Officer position was established. We currently have three law liaisons designated solely for our department from Tarrant County MHMR, and a fourth position is authorized. These liaisons work directly with our Mental Health and Community Advocacy Lieutenant, a Mental Health Initiative Officer, and more than two dozen officers who have gone through extensive additional training to become Mental Health Peace Officers. All of these resources work in unison to provide service to citizens who have various mental health and substance use disorders.

We also use our relationships and experience with these individuals to assess whether they are deemed “High Risk,” and attempt to divert citizens from the criminal justice system towards treatment alternatives when possible. Mental Health Peace Officers also serve as subject matter experts for training and educating other patrol officers who will be predominately responding to calls in the field.

The Arlington Police Department is proud to be a frontrunner on this issue, and it’s all in an effort to complete the following mission: Aid the community in research, identification, and implementation of best practices within behavioral health services, diversion, education, and assessment of public safety.

We are proud of our Mental Health Unit and their proactive approach to be servants to those within the community that count on us as a police department to protect them. The effort to use alternative responses to assist the individuals that may have frequent contact with the police department, shows that we are looking for the best solution to the problem while also caring for the well being for all citizens in our community. 

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