A new information-sharing initiative is aiming to connect the Grand Prairie Police Department with people who are in need of mental health help.
Community Outreach Partnership and Education, or “COPE,” will ensure the city’s first responders have access to diagnosis details about residents who are suffering from mental illness.
“It is not uncommon for our officers to encounter people suffering from mental illness, but usually these encounters occur when the resident is already in mental crisis,” Police Chief Daniel Scesney said in a news release. “This program not only enables our officers to have critical diagnosis details in advance in most cases, but also enables our team to proactively check on residents and connecting them with needed resources to remain healthy.”
The free program relies on residents to provide demographic information, a current digital picture of themselves or loved one, and emergency contacts along with supporting medical documentation. Then, when police encounter a person enrolled in COPE — or the vehicle or residence of someone enrolled in COPE — officers will be prepared to help.
Scesney, who took over as chief of police earlier this year, told KXAS-TV (NBC5) that the program has been a top priority in the last few months.