The Bellevue Police Department, in partnership with Bellevue Fire CARES, piloted a new co-responder program to provide support and resources to those in crisis. The Community Crisis Assistance Team (CCAT) paired specially trained officers with mental health professionals to better serve these vulnerable community members by connecting them with services, addressing their underlying issues and reducing recidivism.
“We continue to see an increasing number of 911-calls involving individuals in crisis and recognize the need to imagine new ways to respond to these calls to ensure the best outcome for the individual, their families and the community,” said Chief Wendell Shirley. “CCAT members were given the time to work with individuals to find appropriate resources and were able to follow-up to ensure they received care.”
The CCAT pilot program ran from May through August 2021 and tested three models; one non-uniformed officer and a mental health professional, two non-uniformed officers and two mental health professionals responding when requested by uniformed officers. Each officer assigned to CCAT received extensive training in responding to crisis situations, including mental health first aid, crisis intervention, trauma-informed care and other topics applicable to their roles.
An independent program evaluator conducted an academic analysis of the pilot program, which evaluated statistical data and included personal interviews of individuals CCAT served as well as community service providers. You can read the report here.
“The CCAT evaluation showed not only a reduction in arrests, use of force and unnecessary emergency room visits, but also an extremely high level of satisfaction from those served by CCAT,” Chief Shirley stated. “CCAT was highly effective.”
The Bellevue Police Department and Bellevue Fire CARES seeks public input on the CCAT program as they prepare to go to City Council to make the program permanent. Please visit Engaging Bellevue for more information and to provide feedback.