News Release - City Launches ‘Person in Crisis’ Team to Provide Alternative Response to Behavioral Health Incidents

City of Rochester

News Release

City Launches ‘Person in Crisis’ Team to Provide Alternative Response to Behavioral Health Incidents

(Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021) – Mayor Lovely A. Warren today announced the launch of the new Person in Crisis (PIC) Team that will provide a compassionate, non-law enforcement emergency response to people experiencing emotional or behavioral turmoil. The initial pilot of the program will run through June, with the intent of continuing the program and continuously improving its operations.

“Today, we take a significant step toward making much-needed change by revamping the way we respond to non-violent crises,” said Mayor Warren. “By mobilizing highly trained professionals, including crisis counselors and social workers, we can ensure that those in crisis receive treatment rather than punishment. This is a major change, not only in the way we handle non-violent law enforcement situations, but also in the way that we serve and protect some of our most vulnerable residents.”

Starting today, the PIC Team will provide a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week alternative response to emergency calls for service that involve mental health, substance abuse and other related issues. Each response team will be comprised of behavioral health professionals, such as social workers and mental health counselors, and will be working in teams of two.

Calls for the PIC Team can be placed through 911 or 211 and will be dispatched by the Emergency Communication Department to coordinate the response with other necessary agencies.

Upon arrival at the intended site, PIC Team members will employ detailed protocols to assess the safety of the scene; provide an immediate analysis of the situation or crisis; engage the person with crisis counseling and de-escalation techniques; and establish real time connections and enrollments to behavioral health service agencies when appropriate.

The PIC Team is a component of the new Crisis Intervention Services Office, which was formed in September to shift City behavioral health services away from the Rochester Police Department in response to the death of Daniel Prude.

During the 180-day pilot phase, administrators will evaluate the PIC Team program to troubleshoot initial issues, as well as to develop key metrics and recommendations for improvements.

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News Media: For more information, contact Bridgette Burch White at 428-6064 or