Omaha Police Collaborating with Mental Health Professionals and First Responders

In Omaha, the police department deals with an average of 900 mental health-related service calls per month. These numbers represent face-to-face interactions with individuals, not including the numerous phone calls made or connections with other providers and family members to ensure that individuals receive the assistance they need. The Co-Responder Conference, co-hosted by the Omaha Police Department and CHI Health Center, brought together over 900 mental health professionals and first responders from around the country to collaborate and share insights on how to improve and expand co-responder programs in their respective cities.

Lindsay Kroll, the Mental Health Coordinator at the Omaha Police Department, emphasized the importance of such programs. She noted that many cities across the U.S. are recognizing the value of co-responders in ensuring that people experiencing crises receive the right services from the right person at the right time. The Omaha Police Department established its co-responder program in 2018 with this goal in mind: to have mental health professionals assist law enforcement officers in responding to situations involving mental health crises. Each precinct in Omaha has an embedded co-responder, and the department also has a youth-specific co-responder who works closely with the city’s school districts.

These co-responders play a crucial role in providing support during traumatic incidents or crime scenes, helping individuals navigate emotional disruptions caused by such events. By partnering with other agencies and organizations, the Omaha Police Department seeks to ensure that individuals in crisis receive the necessary care and support. The conference provided a platform for professionals to discuss best practices for implementing such programs, as well as strategies for addressing common challenges faced by co-responders in their work.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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