The funds will be used to help establish a 24-hour mobile crisis unit.
Frederick, Md (KM) Another step toward a 24-hour mobile crisis unit was taken on Tuesday by he Frederick County. In an unanimous vote, the Board approved a budget transfer of $130,000 from the Sheriff’s Office for the program.
“If’s widely recognized in policing that providing crisis services in the moment of need is probably a better way to go,” says Rick Harcum, the County’s Chief Administrative Officer. “And so the Sheriff has actually agreed to a reduction in the budget for the Adult Detention Center.”
The Way Station in Frederick currently operates the mobile crisis unit, but it’s only available 40-hours during the week. The mobile crisis unit is able to respond with police, and fire and rescue, or sometimes on its own, to provide help for people in crisis, such as those with addictions, having suicidal thoughts or homelessness.
County Executive Jan Gardner announced a few weeks ago that she wanted to expand the mobile crisis unit to 24-hours per day, seven-days a week.
Before this budget transfer took place, Harcum says Frederick Health Hospital applied for a $600,000 grant from the Maryland Health Services Cost Commission. “They’ve opened up a funding stream that is going to allow them to make grants one at a time to individual hospitals to improve health services and health results,” he said.
FHH is making this application for Sheppard Pratt which operates the Way Station.
Harcum also says the County is providing $140,000 a year to help fund the program. The $130,000 from the Sheriff’s Office helps fill a budget gap. “We’re demonstrating a partnership between the County Government, the Sheriff’s Office and now the County. Council. Frederick is all in on this,” he said.
With the approval by the Council, Harcum says this proves this project is a high priority for Frederick County.
If all the funding lines up, Harcum says the 24-hour mobile crisis unit could be up and running by early next year. He also said all police departments in the county can take advantage of it. “Here in Frederick, we have an integrated 911 call system so it doesn’t matter where you live. When you call 911,” says Harcum. “One person answers the phone, and one person makes sure all the resource are there.”
By Kevin McManus