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Rochester joins CoRE mental health police team

By Lisa Brody


The success of a mental health co-response team shared between the municipalities of Birmingham, Bloomfield Township and Auburn Hills police departments has led to its expansion to include the city of Rochester and another dedicated mental health clinician.


Both Birmingham city commissioners and Bloomfield Township trustees unanimously approved a letter of commitment to include the city of Rochester at their meetings on Monday, June 13.


The Mental Health Co-Response Team, called CoRE, is a partnership between law enforcement and mental health professionals in order to better serve the people in the community suffering from a mental health crisis, Birmingham Police Chief Mark Clemence previously explained to the Birmingham City Commission in a memo, noting that law enforcement “has and continues to be the primary first responders to people in crisis. With CoRE, a mental health clinician co-responds to crisis calls for service in the field with police officers.”


The program is overseen by the Oakland Community Health Network (OCHN), which is the Community Mental Health Service Program and Prepaid Inpatient Health Plan responsible for providing behavioral health services to more than 23,000 individuals with developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse issues in Oakland County.


CoRE was initially funded by a $75,000 grant through the Community Foundation, with a subsequent grant of $265,000 secured through the American Rescue Fund Act, explained Bloomfield Township Police Captain James Gallagher. The expansion to include the city of Rochester will allow the grant to be fully funded, and will begin in September.


“OCHN will be the receiver of the grant. They're very supportive of the program,” Gallagher said.


“The Co-Responder Program is a criminal justice diversion program that pairs law enforcement and behavioral health specialists to intervene and respond to behavioral health-related calls for police service. These teams utilize the combined expertise of the officer and the behavioral health specialist to de-escalate situations and help link individuals with behavioral health issues to appropriate services,” said OCHN in a memo.


Currently, the CoRE co-response team has one dedicated social worker, Hillary Nusbaum, working with it. With the expansion into the city of Rochester, the program will be hiring a second social worker to work with police officers.

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