Oct. 26 – Joint Committees: Safety / Health, Human Services and the Arts, Cleveland City Council
Covered by Documenter Najee Hall

Larry Heller, of the Northern Ohio Recovery Association, makes a public comment (screenshot from video on YouTube).
Larry Heller, of the Northern Ohio Recovery Association, makes a public comment. Credit: Cleveland City Council YouTube

What happened: City Council’s Safety Committee and Health, Human Services and the Arts Committee held a joint meeting. They discussed and advanced legislation that aims to strengthen the city’s Crisis-Intervention Team (CIT) program. The program focuses on Public Safety’s response to people experiencing mental-health issues. The police department currently has five co-responder teams. Each includes one CIT-certified police officer and one mental health professional. The department is requesting about $5 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for this program. With funding, the number of co-responder teams would increase to 10 to 12, said Chief of Police Dornat “Wayne” Drummond. That would allow crisis team response from 8 a.m. until midnight, when 81.67% of all crisis calls are made, according to the request submitted to council.

Concerns about lost data: Ward 7 Council Member Stephanie Howse expressed concerns about patients’ health data. She said the various platforms that store data do not share information. Howse wondered what the city could do to ensure new hires to the city’s co-responder teams could access data. Director of Public Health Dr. David Margolius acknowledged that health systems don’t share a patient’s data easily. He said a memorandum of understanding (MOU) could resolve the issue.

Public comment: Three people made public comments. Piet van Lier, Senior Researcher at Policy Matters Ohio, spoke first. He liked that officials are thinking about non-police care response. Larry Heller, of Northern Ohio Recovery Association, spoke next. He said the legislation could be an important first step toward care response. Rosie Palfy, a Cleveland Documenter and member of the Mental Health Response Advisory Committee (MHRAC), also spoke. Palfy said the city should first find out what community members need and then develop a strategic plan.

Read Documenter Najee Hall’s Twitter thread from the meeting:

Have something to say about Cleveland’s crisis-intervention efforts? Check out our guide to registering for public comment. The next opportunity to address full council is at its 7 p.m. meeting on Nov. 7. Note: Parking is free on Mondays after 5 p.m. on the top deck of the Willard Garage.

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