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New program aims to help CMPD appropriately help individuals with developmental disabilities

It comes as Charlotte City Council prepares to vote on potential changes to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some changes could soon be coming for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department if voted on by Charlotte City Council.

On Monday, City Manager Marcus Jones made five recommendations, including redirecting mental health calls to non-sworn units. 

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A high-risk call would still be tended to by a clinician and an officer, but the city wants to increase the number of clinicians on staff from six to 12. They are part of the Community Policing Crisis Response Team.

The team is about a year and a half old, and they've responded to more than 2,800 calls.

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For low-risk mental health calls, the city is recommending a clinician or social worker, along with an EMT trained civilian to answer the call — not a sworn officer.

It's a model that's been successful in other cities.

To help better respond, CMPD also rolled out a new "Safe Outcomes Program" where anyone can mark their house, notifying police that someone with a mental disability lives there. It would give officers a heads up so they respond appropriately.

The five recommendations will still need to be voted on by Charlotte City Council, which could happen later this month, but the Safe Outcomes Program is already underway.

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