Gilbert police launch crisis response team unit to aid community
PHOENIX — The Gilbert Police Department recently launched a crisis response team to help marginalized residents in need.
The new team is made up of four police officers and a supervisor who have specialized training in crisis intervention, de-escalation tactics and crisis negotiations, according to a press release.
“This team really focuses on marginalized and stigmatized communities,” team member Officer Calyssa Wilkerson said in the release.
“Typically people that are struggling with mental health, behavioral health, substance abuse that maybe would be diverted through channels in the criminal justice system, through hospitals, through other things that aren’t really meeting the needs of the individual.”
The team’s goal is to resolve situation by connecting people in crisis to mental health services, while partnering with state and local agencies that specialize in services tailored toward veterans and homeless individuals.
Crisis response team officers will also guide people in need through the process of obtaining the appropriate services.
“We are there for the long haul, we want to have that long-term solution, not just a quick fix,” team member Officer Dakota Richter said.
The city of Tempe launched its own response team, CARE 7, for mental health crisis calls in June, while the Phoenix Police Department launched a similar team in 2019.