911 Diversion Program
“Prior to the 911 diversion program, every mental health call got a police response every single time–whether it was zero risk, low risk, or high risk.” — Lt. Michael Hatch (ret.), MHA of the Southern Tier, CIT Coordinator, Broome County, NY
911 Diversion directly connects an individual in crisis with a trained professional, rather than adding a police transport to services to the process. The goal of the initiative is to provide better service to the community, reduce trauma to the individuals in crisis, and keep police officers available for calls for service.
The process is designed to resolve some calls by diverting them to a dedicated Crisis Network Team. Most diverted calls can be resolved simply through the de-escalation skills of the crisis call taker. If the call requires a face to face visit the Crisis Network Team has the ability to deploy a mobile crisis response team.
Our team uses a standardized risk assessment tool as well as a risk-needs-responsivity protocol to guide the call taker at the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to connect the person to the best level of intervention.
These protocols have been highlighted in the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors PSAP Playbook.
911 Diversion is featured in CIT International's Best Practices In Mental Health Response Guide