Orlando Police Department to work with licensed mental health clinicians on nonviolent emergency calls


  • Photo via Orlando Police Department/Facebook

Beginning this Sunday, the Orlando Police Department will incorporate a Community Response Team to assist with nonviolent incidents involving people who are experiencing mental health crises. 

The CRT has been receiving training for the last two weeks by the Orlando Police Department in preparation for the one-year pilot program, which is a combined effort of the city, Aspire Health Partners, and the Orlando Police Department.

Mayor Buddy Dyer discussed the murder of George Floyd and its impact on initiating the program.

"We had a lot of community conversations in the wake of George Floyd's murder, and one of the things that we heard is that we needed to look at how our first responders interacted with various cases that maybe didn't need a person with a badge and a gun to respond," Dyer said.

Each response team will include a licensed clinician and a case manager. The team members will respond to calls where individuals are unarmed and have no history of violence.

Licensed clinician Crystal Raullerson described her role as "a collaborator" with the Orlando Police Department.

"Yes, we are linking with the Orlando Police Department. However, we are not the Orlando Police Department," said Raullerson. "We are trained mental health professionals to help in those moments where we can give alternatives."

Police Chief Orlando Rolón said that the department responds to an average of 50 calls a day from people in need of mental health assistance.

"Both the community and our officers have expressed interest in having trained mental health professionals respond to nonviolent calls for service," said Rolón. "This partnership reaffirms our commitment to redefining public safety."

The CRT will work Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Saturday through Tuesday from 2-10 p.m.

Orlando Police will continue to respond to calls that involve armed individuals and will refer calls to the CRT when necessary.

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