Laurie Stolen, Behavior Health Project Director
Grant to fund new Co-Responder program
The Board of Larimer County Commissioners today signed a contract for a grant award of $397,428 from the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health to help fund the new Co-Responder Program in Larimer County.
The funding gives local law enforcement more tools to help people with mental health and substance abuse issues. Mental health therapists from SummitStone Health Partners and local law enforcement first responders will be trained to work side-by-side in the Co-Responder model of criminal justice diversion.
The program pairs law enforcement officers from the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Collins Police Services, and Loveland Police Department with behavioral health specialists to intervene during crisis-related calls. It will help give citizens in crisis an access point to assessment and treatment, and in some cases, divert them from costly facilities like hospital emergency rooms and the county jail with the hope of keeping them out of the criminal justice system altogether.
The grant will fund the first 15 months of the Co-Responder Program, and after the first term the program could receive up to $362,500 per year for the next three years. Larimer County was one of eight recipients in Colorado for the Co-Responder grant.
The partners in this project view the Co-Responder Program as a step forward in both short term and long-term solutions to continue improving response and services for those with behavioral health needs in Larimer County.
“This is an important slice of the pie in meeting the needs of our community,” said Larimer
County Commissioner Steve Johnson. “We owe our first responders this kind of support.”
A component of Larimer County’s Strategic Plan is to address behavioral health access in Larimer County. The award resulted from a collaboration by the Board of Larimer County Commissioners, SummitStone Health Partners, UCHealth, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Collins Police Services, Loveland Police Services, and Larimer County Criminal Justice Services.