UFPD recognized for leading the way in mental health

The University of Florida Police Department was recently honored for being a national leader in mental health initiatives and programs.

The recognition was presented to UFPD through a plaque that recognizes the department’s work as a Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Site, a program within the Bureau of Justice Assistance that assists law enforcement agencies seeking to build collaborative responses for people who have mental health needs.

“I am extremely proud of our agency for its involvement with progressive policing models proven to benefit our UF community and beyond,” said Linda Stump-Kurnick, Chief of Police of UFPD. “We are grateful for this recognition and look forward to our continued partnership with this innovative program.”

UFPD has been at the vanguard of mental health-law enforcement collaboration policies for more than a decade. The agency was part of the “initial group of six highly innovative agencies” selected as learning sites when the program launched in 2011, according to the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center. UFPD serves as a model for intensive crisis intervention and suicide prevention training. While the program has expanded to 15 learning sites since, UFPD remains one of three in Southeast.

Most recently, UFPD became the first higher education institution in the country to implement a partnered model of a “co-responder program.” The program pairs clinicians with law enforcement officers to assist and improve the department’s response to those suffering from a mental health crisis or experiencing mental distress.

Co-responders provide officers with the ability to defer the de-escalation process to mental health experts who are trained to assist those in distress in the least intrusive way possible. UFPD is looking to expand the program to ensure a co-responder is always on duty.

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Published: June 29th, 2023

Category: News