Hastings, Dakota County launch pilot program to improve response to mental health crisis reports

Staff report

The City of Hastings and Dakota County are launching a pilot program to help with mental health crisis response.

The agreement was ratified by the Hastings City Council at its meeting last Monday night.

Police Chief Bryan Schafer briefed the council: “The purpose of the Pilot project is to explore and implement a more coordinated response between law enforcement and Dakota County Community Services in addressing mental health crisis response. This is particularly important when there is a need for specific services and programs that are provided by Dakota County. While the Hastings Police Department has already been collaborating with the county since 2019, this allows us to continue this collaboration until which time we transition to a permanent service model that will be memorialized between the parties in a future agreement.”

The agreemend will remain in effect until June 30.

Under the agreemend, the county will “Provide and supervise the Coordinator who has, a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in Corrections, Criminal Justice, Sociology, Psychology, Social Work, or related human services field with one-year professional experience in Corrections, Social Services, or Human Services and progressive experience in project management. This position does not involve the provision of direct treatment services, mental health diagnostic assessments, or treatments. It is a resource referral and coordination position.”.

The coordinator will educate law enforcement on mental health and crisis services offered by Dakota County Social Services and on other services and programs offered by the county that could benefit those who come into contact with law enforcement. The coordinator also will “work with law enforcement in providing a timely follow-up contact with the individual/household to determine if the individual/household is interested in and/or eligible for other services and programs offered through County or other community-based organizations, including networking outreach to potential community resources and service providers,” under the agreement.

The agreement is meant to develop a model program that can be replicated in other communities.

January 11, 2022