GWINNETT COUNTY, GA– Gwinnett County is enhancing its services for residents who may be experiencing a mental health crisis. The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, JUNE 21, approved an expansion of the mental health partnership between the Gwinnett Police Department and View Point Health. The total cost of the contract with View Point Health is $539,820.
The expansion means the addition of two licensed clinicians, bringing the number of providers in the behavioral health unit to three. A total of six clinicians will be in place by the end of 2022.
“This expansion is a vital step to ensure the County is serving our vulnerable population when help is needed most,” said Gwinnett County Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson. “I applaud the success of our current team – the compassion they’ve shown to residents – and I am thrilled to witness the future of the Police Mental Health collaboration.”
More than 160 mental health crisis calls were answered during the pilot program that began in 2021. In March of this year, the unit played a key role in both the release of passengers who were being held hostage on a Greyhound bus and getting the suspect off the bus safely.
Gwinnett Police Chief J.D. McClure said the expansion frees up patrol officers to answer routine and emergency calls.
“The addition of these two clinicians, as well as another officer, will allow us to have one Behavioral Health co-responder team on duty seven days a week,” said McClure. “We plan to continue expanding the unit so that we can provide more coverage in an effort to give our residents who may be suffering from a mental health crisis the opportunity to receive the care they need.”