LOWELL — Acting Superintendent Barry Golner and the Lowell Police Department report that Co-Response Jail Diversion Clinicians Courtney Motuzas and Mackenzie Dezieck have partnered with police officers to divert 78 people from arrest or involuntary emergency room visits since July 2021.
Co-Response clinicians provide city residents facing mental health crises and trauma with an immediate, on-scene support system and follow-up resources.
“The mental health crisis has posed an enormous challenge to law enforcement and first responders, so I could not be more grateful for the compassionate and professional work of Mackenzie and Courtney, the grant funding that enabled us to launch this program, and the teamwork and rapport that is being built between our clinicians and sworn officers,” said Acting Superintendent Golner. “This program is effective, compassionate, and part of a vitally needed response to a growing issue.”
The Lowell Police Department’s Co-Response Jail Diversion Program was launched in July 2021, thanks to grant funding from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Motuzas and Dezieck diverted 22 individuals from arrest since July of 2021. Using a formula from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, those diversions saved the criminal justice system an estimated $55,440. They diverted 56 individuals from unnecessary emergency room visits. Using a formula from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, those diversions saved the health care system $224,000.
Lowell Police partners with Advocates, Inc. of Framingham, which works with individuals, families and agencies to develop creative solutions for those who face developmental, mental health, or other life challenges.
The program’s primary goal is to re-direct individuals committing non-violent offences out of the criminal justice system and into more appropriate community-based behavioral health services. A secondary goal is to decrease the frequency of individuals with behavioral health conditions being referred to a hospital emergency department for psychiatric assessment by Lowell police officers.