City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison formally unveiled a new police detail dedicated to addressing individuals that are in need of services offered by the Dutchess County Office of Community and Behavioral Health or other partnering agencies, including Mental Health America (MHA).

The collaborative agreement between the city, county and outside agencies is known as the Behavioral Evaluation Action Team or BEAT and partners four police officers with intensive Crisis Intervention training with mental health crisis workers from either the county or MHA to interact with individuals considered to be in need of specialized services including mental health, homelessness, and substance abuse issues. The specialized patrols are tasked with interacting with individuals known to be considered Emotionally Disturbed Persons (EDP) or those approaching that classification. The goal is to encourage those that are encountered to take advantage of the services designed to improve their quality of life.

The detail was launched in October according to Police Chief Tom Pape and since inception 92 man-hours have been invested in patrols that have resulted in 72 encounters with individuals considered to be eligible for services, resulting in 25 persons that accepted referrals for services to assist them.

Rolison declared that the "city is in the business of helping people" and this program reinforces that concept. Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro was in attendance and said, "This program is exactly the progression we (the county) were hoping for when the county expanded the mental health services available to those in need of mental health services available to those in need."

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