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40% Of New London's Police Calls Are Related To Mental Health. Here's What They're Doing About It.

New London Mayor Michael Passero
New London Mayor Michael Passero

The city of New London, Connecticut, has launched a new project to assist those in the community with mental health issues who frequently come into contact with law enforcement.

A study has found that 40% of police calls in New London, Connecticut are related to mental health issues.

New London Police Captain Matthew Galante said the program will allow law enforcement to refer to peer navigators.

“To be able to utilize the navigators to interact with the community members that are suffering from mental distress or mental illness, that component, that follow-up component with the Navigators, along with the police department is key. And that’s what we’ve had in the past with the Overdose Action Team, transitioning now to a mental health set-up,” Galante said.

Navigators on the city’s substance use team have reduced hospital transports for overdoses in New London by 75% in the last five years.

They are specially trained to work closely with small groups in the community and the city’s addiction and mental health services.

Galante said 30% of New London officers have also received crisis intervention training.

Michael Passero is the mayor of New London.

“We have no problem with diversity in this city and we brag about our diversity. It’s the equity and inclusion we have to work on and this program is going to be key because we identified 40% of our police responses are directly related to mental health issues and that’s what this program is going to address,” Passero said.

The city will fund the program with $200,000 already included in the city budget.

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