Agency Type: Police Department
Population Size, based on the most recent U.S. Census Bureau: 17,000
Agency Size: 15 total - 14 sworn; 1 non-sworn
Initiative Partnership(s): Mifflin Juniata Human Services Department; Mifflin County Regional Police Departmen; Juniata Valley Behavioral Development Services; Center for Community Resources
Grant Focus Area(s): Mental Health Co-Response Model; Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)
The Mifflin County, Pennsylvania Regional Police Department (MCRPD), with a total staff of 15, is the principal law enforcement agency for Burnham Borough, Brown Township, Derry Township, and Union Township within Mifflin County, a rural county located in Central Pennsylvania. National crime statistics reveal that Mifflin County has a violent crime rate of 567 per 100,000 persons, compared to a national rate of 388. The MCRPD reports that it responded to 117 calls related to mental health and/or suicide in 2022, a significant increase in call volume since 2020. The MCRPD also reports an increase in incidents involving individuals with moderate to serious mental illness as well as individuals using methamphetamine.
To address these challenges, the MCRPD is using Rural Violent Crime Reduction Initiative funding to replicate a successful Co-Responder pilot started with the nearby Lewistown, Pennsylvania Police Department. A mental health professional accompanies officers on calls that may require mental health interventions. In the Lewistown pilot, mental health workers were successful in diverting individuals from the criminal justice system during moments of crisis and helping them access needed services. The county is now expanding the model to other jurisdictions in the region, with this project aiming to support the more rural portions of the county outside Lewistown.