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Integrating 911 and 988 Services With Innovative Crisis Response Systems

Posted: Oct. 26, 2023

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The National Association of Counties (NACo) has published the Shaping Crisis Response Spotlight Series, featuring 5 counties in 5 different states that have implemented innovative crisis response systems involving 911/988 integration:

Douglas County, Kansas.

  • Douglas County hosts Kansas’ primary crisis call center, Kansas Suicide Prevention Headquarters (KSPHQ), which responds to 988 calls placed in 103 out of the state’s 105 counties.
  • KSPHQ created a 911/988 transfer program that utilizes 911 location technology so callers within the counties that KSPHQ serves, regardless of their phone’s area code, are located and transferred directly to KSPHQ without significant delays.
  • Douglas County also worked with a 911 law enforcement liaison at KSPHQ to develop criteria for diverting cases from 911 to 988.

Durham County, North Carolina.

  • Durham County leveraged a strategic partnership with the city of Durham to create a community-driven vision for public safety and crisis response.
  • The county-city planning committee established the Community Safety Department to create unarmed, equitable and community-centered responses.

Los Angeles (LA) County, California.

  • LA County launched a comprehensive call diversion program to make behavioral health care as accessible as traditional emergency responses.
  • LA County is the most populous county in the United States, with over 10 million residents, 70 public safety answering points (PSAPs) and 80 law enforcement agencies.

Travis County, Texas.

  • In 2019, Travis County expanded its partnership with a local mental health and intellectual and developmental disability authority, creating the Crisis Call Diversion Program.
  • Under this program, Crisis Center clinicians were embedded within 911 PSAPs, serving as co-located, trained behavioral health experts.

Pima County, Arizona.

  • Pima County was one of the first communities in the country to embed clinicians within its 911 operating system.
  • Pima County also deploys Mobile Crisis Teams (MCTs) using a dispatch optimization tool that tracks MCTs’ locations with GPS and monitors their status.

The full brief on each county’s program, including steps taken to understand the progress; challenges; and lessons learned from efforts to establish 911/988 interoperability across various models, including embedded clinicians, call transfer and co-located response can be accessed at Shaping Crisis Response Spotlight Series.

Shaping Crisis Response Spotlight Series was developed by NACo in collaboration with The Pew Charitable Trusts and the RAND Corporation. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, a national network of more than 200 state and local call centers that can be reached by dialing 988, was launched in 2022 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

This article is based on content in the
Oct. 26, 2023 InfoGram.

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