The Larimer County Sheriffs Office (LCSO) is now serving the Wellington community with the support of the Mental Health Co-Responder Unit. This is a unit within the Patrol Section of the Operations Division. The unit was formed in response to the need for a more effective response to the increasing number of mental health-related calls for service, both repetitive as well as emergency or urgent calls for service.
Following the “co-responder” model established in larger cities and counties across the nation, LCSO sought and established a cooperative relationship with Summitstone Health Partners. With this partnership, the idea of utilizing Summitstone certified and licensed mental health counselors and pairing them with patrol deputies to respond directly to calls for service in the field came to fruition in early 2019.
Since then, the unit has expanded to include three co-responder teams (Patrol Deputy and Mental Health Counselor). The LCSO Co-Responder Unit follows the “primary response” model of co-response, wherein the co-responder team responds to both emergency calls, such as suicide threats or attempts, as well as non-emergency mental health-related calls such as conducting welfare checks, assisting the unhoused or people with mental illness or addiction issues, assisting people in emotional crisis, and connecting service providers with the community member in need.
This partnership has been extremely successful in saving a significant amount of time for the patrol deputies and connecting community members with the services they need. Both deputies and the mental health counselors who serve on the Co-responder Unit are specifically selected for their knowledge, skills, and abilities in communication, active listening, and de-escalation. Their desire to serve and make a positive difference in the lives of those experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis is an invaluable addition to the Town of Wellington.