WEST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP, Pa (WHTM) — Police in Lancaster County respond to hundreds of calls a year for people with mental health issues.
West Lampeter Township Police Chief, Brian Wiczkowski, said they can’t always get those people the help they need.
“One of our biggest frustrations on the job is our inability to serve an underserved portion of our community and it’s those people with mental health issues,” Wiczkowski said.
This weekend there will be a solution to that problem.
The West Lampeter Township Police Department is one of nearly a dozen police departments in Lancaster County pairing with mental health professionals.
“We want to be able to give solutions, we want to be able to help people,” Wiczkowski said. “We want to be able to help people help themselves.”
Officers will be working with Blueprints for Addiction Recovery, which is a mental health facility, to offer treatment options.
The officers will be able to contact a mental health professional all hours of the day and the thought is a trained mental health professional could respond as quickly as police can.
“By giving (police) access to a mental health specialist anytime during their shift, I think it’s hopefully going to curb some of the mental health-related crime and mental health difficulties people are suffering from here in the county,” Christopher Dreisbach, CEO of Blueprints for Addiction Recovery, said.
“That certified peer specialist can meet us here at the station or on scene and they can help that person get into the services they need,” Wiczkowski said.
Blueprints for Addiction Recovery is offering the program at no cost to the participating police departments.
The program is going through a trial period this weekend. Dreisbach believes if all goes well the program could be in place for years to come.