(Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020) – Mayor Warren announced that operation of the Family and Victims Services office has been transferred from the Rochester Police Department to the City’s Department of Recreation and Youth Services (DRYS), and a new Crisis Intervention Services Unit has been created that will better serve the needs of the community. Details regarding the new crisis intervention unit were explained by Recreation and Youth Services Commissioner Daniele Lyman-Torres and City Council Vice President Willie J. Lightfoot at a news conference this morning. The changes were voted on and approved by the City Council at its monthly meeting yesterday evening.
The goal of the new Crisis Intervention Services Unit is to create a non-law enforcement, comprehensive community response to all homicides, as well as all calls involving mental health, domestic violence and other related crises. The Unit will consist of two teams: Team I will be a comprehensive homicide response team, while Team II will deal with all mental health and domestic violence related emergencies. Both teams will be on call 24 hours a day/seven days a week, and will be deployed to handle emergency situations based on the call type received by the 911 Center. In addition, the current functions of FACIT (Family Crisis Intervention Team) and the Victims Assistance Unit (VAU) will be incorporated into the new Crisis Intervention Services Unit to allow for additional coordination of non-law enforcement response services.
“Plans have been underway for more than a year to develop a system that we can now expand to allow us to handle mental health and domestic violence related calls without automatically having to deploy police officers to non-violent or mental health situations,” said Mayor Warren. “The creation of this Unit will allow us to immediately mobilize crisis counselors and social workers who are trained to handle certain medical situations, make referrals and provide appropriate monitoring and follow-up. Our goal is to make sure that all crisis calls are handled appropriately, and those in crisis are given the type of care they need.”
“While this new approach cannot change anything that has already happened in the past, we are putting protocols in place to make sure that the same mistakes are not repeated in the future,” Mayor Warren concluded.
Funding for the new Crisis Intervention Services Unit is made possible by the transfer of $681,100 from the RPD budget and $300,000 from the City’s Contingency Budget.
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