Vallejo Police Department to Receive Federal Funding for New Mental Health Unit
VALLEJO, Calif. – The Vallejo Police Department is set to receive $ 900,000 in federal funding to launch a pilot program to respond to people with mental health issues, the department said on Tuesday.
The mobile community mental health response unit would include an emergency medical technician and a mental health clinician responsible for providing trauma-informed care during mental health service calls.
Representative Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, was able to secure funding for the project under the Congress funding program for fiscal year 2022.
“Funding for this project is an opportunity to help the community heal, to restore trust between residents and law enforcement and, most importantly, to ensure that the mental health needs of our residents are treated in a way. appropriate and timely, âsaid Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams. a statement released by the ministry on Tuesday.
According to the department, the unit “would also help coordinate responses to people with mental health and intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
Funding for the program comes amid calls from the local community to see the department reformed following several high-profile incidents with the public, including the fatal shootings of Willie McCoy and Sean Monterrosa involving officers in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
SEE ALSO: Community support in Oakland for non-police responses to mental health calls
In January 2019, a Vallejo police officer shot and wounded Edward Gonzales, then 49, who was carrying a knife after entering church property. In body camera footage released by the department, Gonzales can be seen acting erratically and suffering from mental distress as he walks around the property trying to escape the officer.
Just before he is shot, Gonzales walks up to a door. Sensing that he is being cornered, Gonzales takes a step towards the officer and is shot several times.
The City of Oakland, another Bay Area city with a long history of poor police-community interactions, has launched a one-year pilot program, aimed at reducing the number of police responses to 911 calls from people with mental health problems.
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The goal of MACRO – Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland – is to reduce the number of deadly interactions between police and people suffering from a mental health crisis.
MACRO will operate within the Oakland Fire Department.
It is not immediately clear whether the Vallejo pilot program will work the same. Vallejo Police officials said they would release additional information on the pilot program as soon as it became available.