Foundation 2 is pleased to announce that thanks to a grant of more than $70,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice, our Mobile Crisis Outreach program is partnering with the Cedar Rapids Police Department to enhance law enforcement response during a mental health situation.

Mobile Crisis Outreach (MCO) offers in-person counseling and referral services for those experiencing crisis in an eight-county region that includes Linn and Johnson counties. The service is free, and the program’s 15 counselors are dispatched 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  The need for our Mobile Crisis Outreach program has increased 437% in the last three years.

This grant allows us to pilot a co-responder model between law enforcement and a mental health counselor, assisting in situations where officers may be dealing with a person who is dealing with a mental health issue.  Funds will also support more training for CRPD and Foundation 2.

“We’re seeing this more and more, where officers are encountering subjects who are experiencing some type of crisis,” Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman said Wednesday, “whether it is a mental health disorder or some type of behavioral disorder.”

“They’re committing these acts because they’re not well – and they need the help.”

“It’s critical for us as a community – because otherwise we create a revolving door,” Foundation 2 operations director Sarah Nelson-Miller said. “We have people – really their predominant issue is their mental illness, not criminality.”

“We’re able to treat what the presenting issue really is and divert those people from having unnecessary involvement in the criminal justice system.”

Foundation 2 will have someone in this new Law Enforcement Liaison role starting in February.

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