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Co-responder program expands in Johnson County

Nine cities in Northeast Johnson County will participate in the Johnson County Mental Health Center’s co-responder that supports local police in dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues.

The program brings in a mental health professional to accompany police officers on calls that involve potential mental health issues with a goal to provide individuals quicker access to mental health services and keep them out of jail and local emergency rooms. This latest addition to the program brings the cities of Fairway, Leawood, Merriam, Mission, Mission Hills, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Westwood and Westwood Hills. This means that 13 cities are now participating in Johnson County with communities that have previously signed on — Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park and Shawnee.

Watch a short video about the co-responder program.

In 2015, local dispatchers called for a co-responder to assist on 1,184 combined calls in Olathe and Overland Park. Of these calls, law enforcement placed offending persons in jail 23 times and emergency rooms 49 times, or just 1.9 percent and 4.1 percent respectively.

Read the press release about co-responder program expansion.