Law enforcement agencies see cuts in state-funded mental health assistance as more departments seek support – Longmont Times-Call
Law enforcement agencies in the region have received less support for mental health programs this year, with the demand for funding nearly doubling from previous years.
During this year’s funding cycle, 75 agencies applied for assistance from the state peacekeeper’s mental health support grant program, up from around 36 agencies in previous years, Ella Bowman wrote. , head of the grants program at the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
The Longmont Public Safety Department has applied for the grant program for the past three years, said Dan Eamon, deputy chief of public safety.
Eamon said the department received about $ 99,000 this year, up from $ 150,000 the year before.
“They had a lot more applicants this year, so they had to reduce the amount they gave,” he said. “I think maybe more people have found out. I think it’s a combination of that and an increased need.
Eamon said the funding can only be used to support commissioned officers. Longmont uses the money to employ a full-time in-house counselor who provides unlimited therapy to agents. In addition, the grant also pays for external consulting services for Longmont agents.
“It really behooves the department to provide as much support as possible to our employees, especially those who experience trauma on a daily basis,” he said. “When that grant became available, we jumped on it and were able to hire an internal therapist 40 hours a week. “
Eamon said there may be less funds available this year for outpatient therapy, but he believes the department should still be able to maintain the same resources.
“It could reduce the amount of money available for outside advice – not by a huge amount but a bit,” he said. “My hope is that we will be able to provide everything that the officers need. Without the grant, we would not be able to pay for these (services).
In 2019, the Boulder Police Department received $ 67,600 from the Peace Officer Mental Health Support Grant program, said Gina Coluzzi, director of business services for the Boulder Police Department. This year, the ministry received $ 30,858, less than half of the amount it received in 2019.
“The first prize was to pay the police overtime to accompany what was once our EDGE (Early Diversion Get Engaged) program, which has now been integrated into the city in our housing and social services department,” he said. she declared. mentionned.
The EDGE program was officially working with Mental Health Partners before it was transferred in-house.
Coluzzi said during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boulder Police Department was unable to use all of the grant funding and was given permission to use some of it to purchase a new vehicle .
This year, the funding will be used to pay for a clinician that officers can see up to six times per year.
“We have an employee assistance program in the city, but we suffered some pretty drastic budget cuts in 2021, so that complements that program,” she said. “This is definitely a grant well worth it considering how much we’ve been through this year. Having this kind of grant is essential funding.