The Gwinnett County Police Department will partner with View Point Health to answer mental health service calls.
The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners approved this expansion on Tuesday, which will bring two more licensed mental clinicians to the behavioral health unit. Six more clinicians will join the unit by the end of the year.
“This expansion is a vital step to ensure the County is serving our vulnerable population when help is needed most,” Gwinnett County Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson said in a press release. “I applaud the success of our current team – the compassion they’ve shown to residents – and I am thrilled to witness the future of the Police Mental Health collaboration.”
According to a press release from the Gwinnett County Government communications department, the demand for more clinicians comes after the pilot program received more than 160 mental health crisis calls in 2021 .
One of these calls resulted in the peaceful arrest in March of a suspect who held passengers hostage on a Greyhound bus.
This new $539,820 contract between the Gwinnett County Police Department and View Point Health will also give patrol officers more time to answer routine and emergency calls.
“The addition of these two clinicians, as well as another officer, will allow us to have one Behavioral Health co-responder team on duty seven days a week,” Gwinnett County Police Chief J.D. McClure said in a press release. “We plan to continue expanding the unit so that we can provide more coverage in an effort to give our residents who may be suffering from a mental health crisis the opportunity to receive the care they need.”