Starting soon, 911 dispatchers in Dane County, Wisconsin, will have the option to send a team of trained specialists to non-violent mental health calls instead of police. Madison CARES (Community Alternative Response to Emergency Situations and Services) team will feature two paramedics from Madison Fire Department, as well as two representatives from the Journey Mental Health Facility in Madison. If a mental health crisis is determined to be non-violent, dispatchers will have the opportunity to send the CARES team. In the past, these calls have primarily been handled by the Madison Police Department. “I think we’re going to see how tip of the iceberg this team is in terms of responding to all the calls there are. I think it’s going to result in many less people being conveyed to Emergency Rooms or being arrested” said Sarah Henrickson, clinical team manager.

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