Axis and La Plata County Sheriff’s Office receive grant for Co-Responder Program
Axis and La Plata County Sheriff’s Office are partnering to build a more effective response model for La Plata County in 2023. Axis has received funding from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice Multidisciplinary Crime Prevention Grant to fund the pilot program La Plata County Co-Responder Program (LP-CORE). The LP-CORE program aims to reduce law enforcement responses to non-criminal calls for service calls that come through 911. The LP-CORE program will include a Sheriff’s deputy and Axis behavioral health provider working as a team differently on appropriate response calls to better address community needs. The program is intended to be rolled out this spring. Individuals served by the program will be connected to a wide array of wrap-around services through the program, including support in accessing preventive and interventive healthcare. “Our community has a variety of resources available,” expresses Molly Rodriquez, Axis’ Behavioral Health Director of Residential & Crisis Services, “but it can feel impossible to navigate all the systems, especially under the pressure of an emergency. This team is designed to lessen that burden and connect people more effectively and timely to the resources that can make a difference.”
Axis is a partner in several co-responder and community intervention programs with the City of Durango and Montezuma, Montrose, and Delta counties. Under this new partnership with La Plata County, Axis and the Sherriff’s office will build on the other program experience to develop a program that meets the needs of La Plata County residents. Rodriquez also affirms that “Co-responder programs are the link that has long been missing in the continuum of care for calls that could be managed differently than with a traditional 911 type of response. We have been honored and humbled by our experiences and the impact our teams have had in serving alongside first responders in a different way. The new LP-CORE team will build on our existing partnership to better serve our community’s needs.”
Alayna Latimore, La Plata County Deputy notes, “We are excited to have the opportunity to serve and protect our community in a different capacity. Deputies involved will have the opportunity to partner with Axis team members and build different may relationships with individuals who previously have not had positive encounters with law enforcement. We know this program will make the agency more well-rounded and efficient in responding to a variety of different situations.”
Communities with co-responder programs have recognized a variety of better outcomes by connecting people to appropriate services and resources in a different way which is often at less cost to the entire system. Data from the Center for Police Research and Policy (2021) suggests that when individuals are connected to support services and treatment, they are less likely to engage in unlawful or disruptive behaviors and ultimately have fewer contacts with law enforcement over time. Additionally, similar studies have shown that individuals linked to interventive health services, including behavioral healthcare, have fewer subsequent arrests than those not connected to services. Law enforcement agencies also benefit when officers can return to other duties leaving the co-responder team to focus on other types of response calls.
Axis is actively recruiting qualified behavioral health providers who are interested in this innovative and unique community response program. Interested applicants can apply at https://www.axishealthsystem.org/health-care-jobs-in-colorado/.