In August, New Jersey’s Attorney General made a significant announcement, highlighting the implementation of a groundbreaking police response program known as ARRIVE. This innovative initiative pairs police and mental health professionals tasked with responding to calls involving individuals in the midst of a psychological crisis.
ARRIVE, which stands for Alternative Responses to Reduce Instances of Violence & Escalation, has garnered attention for its potential to transform crisis response and improve outcomes.
In mid-July, ARRIVE took its first steps in Newark, where it launched a pilot program.
This pilot involves teaming up a “screener” from Rutgers’ University Behavioral Health Care with a plainclothes officer, patrolling the city in an unmarked car every Monday evening for one shift.
Their mission is to respond to reports of individuals experiencing emotional distress and offer appropriate assistance.
Additionally, NJ Transit police have embraced the ARRIVE program by collaborating with screeners from Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. These teams work together two nights a week, conducting outreach efforts in and around Penn Station.
Their primary focus is to check on individuals who are housing insecure and provide the necessary support.
Newark police Captain Leonardo Carrillo commends the program, noting that the screeners bring a wealth of training and resources that would otherwise be unavailable to law enforcement.
Police And Mental Health Professionals To Address Mental Health Crises
A report published by the Brookings Institution in March shed light on the success of the ARRIVE program. Attorney General Matthew Platkin had already introduced this initiative in Cumberland, Union, and Atlantic counties, where it produced promising results.
According to the report, authored by Rashawn Ray, a senior fellow at Brookings, only 2% of 342 calls for service involving an ARRIVE team across these three agencies resulted in an arrest.
This remarkable statistic underscores the potential of the program to offer a more compassionate and effective response to individuals experiencing mental health crises.
The ARRIVE Together program represents a significant shift in the way law enforcement and mental health professionals collaborate to address mental health crises in the community.
This collaborative approach acknowledges the unique expertise that mental health professionals bring to crisis intervention and provides a more empathetic response to individuals in distress.
One of the key features of the program is the pairing of a mental health screener with a law enforcement officer.
This partnership ensures that individuals in crisis receive a comprehensive response that considers both their mental health needs and any potential safety concerns.
The presence of a mental health professional can de-escalate situations and provide individuals with access to the appropriate resources and support.
The success of the ARRIVE program in reducing arrests is a testament to the effectiveness of this collaborative model.
By diverting individuals away from the criminal justice system and towards mental health services, the program offers a more humane and productive approach to crisis response.
Moreover, the expansion of the ARRIVE program to Newark reflects a growing recognition of the need for innovative solutions to address mental health challenges in our communities.
It represents a commitment to providing individuals in crisis with the support and care they require to navigate their mental health journey successfully.
As the ARRIVE Together program continues to gain traction in Newark and beyond, it serves as a beacon of hope for individuals and families grappling with mental health crises.
By bringing together the expertise of mental health professionals and law enforcement, this initiative paves the way for a more compassionate and effective approach to crisis intervention.
It is a testament to the power of collaboration and the potential for positive change in the realm of mental health response.