Agency Type: County Agency
Population Size, based on the most recent U.S. Census Bureau: 46,143
Agency Size: 19 total – 17 sworn; 2 non-sworn (for Lewistown Borough Police Department)
Initiative Partnership(s): Mifflin Juniata Department of Human Services; Lewistown Borough Police Department; Center for Community Resources; Mifflin County Criminal Justice Advisory Board
Grant Focus Area(s): Mental Health Co-Response Model; Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)
The Mifflin Juniata Department of Human Services (a collaborative effort between both counties) serves as the lead applicant for the award. The key law enforcement project partner is Lewistown, Pennsylvania, Borough Police Department (LPD), which has a total staff of 19 serving a population of 8,518 residents. The Mifflin County Criminal Justice Advisory Board provides the framework for criminal justice and law enforcement agencies to collaborate with mental health practitioners. Since 2018, the LPD has reported an alarming increase in calls for service that include behavioral health crises and related challenges.
To address this issue, Rural Violent Crime Reduction Initiative (RVCRI) funding supports a mental health co-responder placement with the LPD. The co-responder is a trained behavioral health practitioner who joins patrols officers when responding to mental health-related calls for service in the field, which can result in follow-up services and support offering to individual experiencing crisis as well as potential diversion away from further criminal justice system involvement. In addition, grant support provides the opportunity for officers to receive Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) to improve field responses to individuals experiencing crisis. The program hopes to increase the overall number of co-responder contacts with individuals in the field along with an increased number of service referrals and follow-up.