by Terry Rogers
Recently, the City of Milford hired two Behavioral Health Specialists to create the first Behavioral Health Unit working with the Milford Police Department. Currently, the unit has one full-time and one part-time member. A second part-time person will join the unit in the coming weeks.
âI just want to highlight the number of hijackings that have been done by Jenna, our behavioral health specialist,â said City Councilor Mike Boyle, chairman of the police committee. âAs a direct result of her work, nine incidents that could have been more serious, people were taken to the emergency room, she was able to calm them down. We are already seeing the benefits of this position and this program.
Behavioral health specialists managed to turn four people away from the arrest, five from the emergency room, and assisted 34 people on follow-up visits, according to a document provided by Chief Kenneth Brown at a recent meeting. . The hijackings included runaway youth, disorderly conduct, welfare checks and other reports allegedly handled by police before the unit was established.
âI also want to add that what you see in this spreadsheet is just Jenna, the full-time behavioral health person,â said Chief Brown. âIt doesn’t reflect the part-time person we have. From now on, that will reflect the whole unit and not just Jenna. “
City Councilor Jason James, who suggested creating a behavioral health unit in Milford, praised the chief on his success.
“I am very happy that as of the time I presented this it has not been long to put in place since the introduction,” said Councilor James. “From the boss who takes him by the horns and hires someone to finance him.” When I looked at the proposal I can see that the idea was to free up police time and cut down on police time and the time a police officer had to sit in an emergency room with someone and ask for help more quickly. So that was also an economic benefit proposition and I think that’s starting to underline that. “
During the meeting, City Manager Mark Whitfield also provided information on an opioid bylaw that could allow Milford to receive $ 2.1 million in funding to be used to prevent opioid addiction or treat drug addicts. During this discussion Councilor James asked if some of the settlement funds could be used to offset costs incurred by the Behavioral Health Unit. Whitfield said he understands that part of the settlement funding could be used for behavioral health.