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Crisis response team deploys in New Haven to help police with mental health calls

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A new community crisis response team is coming to New Haven to help first responders handle certain non-violent interventions.

The pilot program, called Elm City COMPASS, will work with police, fire and emergency medical personnel.

COMPASS will provide resources for residents experiencing mental health, drug, alcohol or housing crises.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said the program was inspired by a nationwide call for better crisis response after the 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“Like the name COMPASS infers, this program is designed to help insure when a 911 emergency call comes, the right person with the right skills at the right time will come to help you out,” Elicker said. “That is a big deal.”

New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson thanked the team at COMPASS for bringing a new resource to the community.

“We’re excited about the police being able to give another hand out, something to people that we weren't able to do before,” Jacobson said. “So we’re excited about that, our officers are excited about it. Both of our departments are short, this is going to help us. This is going to put us in a place where we can do other things for people that we need to do. ”

The response team will include a licensed social worker and a peer recovery specialist. It will run seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. during the pilot phase.

Molly is a news fellow, working on the Long Story Short, Higher Ground, and other podcasts at WSHU.