HFTD Convenes Advisory Board to Help Design Civilian Crisis Response
Published on October 13, 2020
Hartford Convenes Advisory Board to Help DESIGN CIVILIAN CRISIS RESPONSE TEAMARTFORD, CONN (October 13, 2020) – Today the City of Hartford announced that it has convened an advisory board of subject matter experts to help design and begin operationalizing a civilian crisis response team. In June, Mayor Luke Bronin and members of the City Council announced a plan to create a civilian crisis response team to respond to certain calls for service in place of police and identified $5 million over four years to fund the design and implementation of the crisis response team. In September, the City Council formally set aside that funding, which comes from the City’s Fiscal Year 2020 surplus, largely due to lower costs from the coronavirus shutdown.
“As we design and operationalize our civilian crisis response team, there is a wide range of questions that we need to answer, and our advisory board will play a key role in guiding that process,” said Mayor Bronin. “There are big questions like whether the crisis response team sits inside or outside of city government, and how to identify and categorize calls for service that should be the responsibility of a crisis response team, and smaller but critical questions like how we operationalize a coordinated response between our dispatchers and the response team. We have been in touch with other communities who have done and are doing similar work, including the White Bird Clinic in Oregon and the City of Albuquerque in New Mexico. As part of our design process, we hope to engage them further. And most important, we anticipate that the advisory board will conduct a significant amount of community engagement in the weeks and months ahead as they consider their recommendations. I am deeply grateful to all of the members of our advisory board, who are leader in our community with deep expertise, for volunteering their time to be part of this important endeavor.”
The advisory board includes the following local experts, in addition to City Councilman Nick Lebron who chairs the City Council’s Health and Human Services Committee and the relevant City department heads, including police, fire, emergency services and telecommunications, health, and the Chief Operating Officer:
- Madeline Pérez De Jesús, Ph.D., M.Phil., M.S.W., Associate Professor of Social Work and Equitable Community Practice, University of Saint Joseph
- Dr. Gary Rhule, Former City of Hartford Health Director and expert on mental illness and community healthcare
- Dr. Tekisha Dwan Everette, Executive Director, Health Equity Solutions
- Dr. Harold I. Schwartz, Psychiatrist in Chief Emeritus, Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
- Susan R. Niemitz, LCSW, CEO, Capitol Region Mental Health Center
- C. Steven Wolf, MD FACEP, Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center.