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Request for Committee Action

A briefing memo explaining the purpose, background, and impact of the requested action.
Pohlad Foundation grant for alternative Mental Health Response and a Police Early Intervention System (RCA-2021-01166)

Police Department, City Coordinator's Office, and Mayor's Office
To Committee(s)
# Committee Name Meeting Date
1 Policy & Government Oversight Committee Oct 6, 2021
Lead Staff:
Wendy Guck, Brian Smith
Presented By:
Chief Arradondo, Heather Johnston, Commander Granger
Action Item(s)
# File Type Subcategory Item Description
1 Action Grant

Accepting a grant from the Pohlad Foundation, in the amount of $700,000, for the support of Mental Health Alternative to police response and development of a Police Early Intervention System. 

2 Action Contract/Agreement

Authorizing a contract with the Pohlad Foundation for the Reducing Harm through Collaborative Solutions Initiative award. 

3 Resolution Appropriation

Passage of Resolution approving appropriation of funds to the City Coordinator's Office and the Police Department. 

Ward / Neighborhood / Address
# Ward Neighborhood Address
1. Not Applicable
Background Analysis

The grant application to the Pohlad Foundation Reimagining Public Safety, Reducing Harm through Collaborative Solutions Initiative is awarded in the amount of $700,000 over two years.  

$200,000 of the award will support the Mental Health Alternatives to Police Response - Mobile Behavioral Health Crisis Program to expand the pilot program that embeds mental health professionals in 911 operations to improve behavioral health triage. The mental health alternative program will dispatch unarmed, non-police mental health providers to emergency mental health calls. Mobile behavioral crisis response teams will have extensive training on mental health crisis interventions, de-escalation tactics and will be trauma informed. Teams will also be diverse in race and gender identity to best serve cultural populations.  The program will be a community-based response that is empathetic and treats people experiencing crises as people who need help and not as criminals.  

$500,000 of the grant award will fund the development and implementation of a police Early Intervention System (EIS).  EIS is a personnel management tool designed to identify performance concerns at the earliest opportunity so interventions and support can be offered by the Department to return performance to a level that meets standards.  EIS supports increased accountability and supervisory oversight as well as officer wellness.  The Early Intervention System will incorporate, analyze, and monitor performance data from various City data repositories utilizing metrics and pre-determined thresholds as indicators for when an officer’s performance may be effected by an underlying issue creating a risk of problematic behaviors or poor performance.   Interventions including supervisory mentoring, coaching, training, performance improvement plans, and referrals to peer support, employee assistance, a chaplain or outside medical or therapeutic services are mobilized to address the issues quickly and effectively.   Data used for EIS analysis may include a comprehensive set of indicators including calls for service answered, citizen complaints, use of force, discipline, lawsuits, substandard performance reviews, overuse of sick leave, traffic crashes, and work injuries.  It is a critical need for the Department to obtain a full-service, automated Early Intervention System able to provide a comprehensive review of performance data points and comparative analysis between employees, within a precinct or across the Department.   A case management system is required to document all phases of the EIS process from identification to evaluation, intervention, and monitoring.        

The Police Department is committed to providing equal and unbiased public safety services.  While job and personal stress can have an impact on officers’ performance of their duties and their interactions with citizens, one goal of early intervention is to address stress and trauma to reduce adverse outcomes. Additional goals include improving interactions and trust within the community; enhancing accountability and the quality of supervision; identifying and correcting poor performance early; reducing citizen complaints and costly lawsuits; and supporting the City’s investment through the retention of high performing, professional officers.  Early Intervention supports the health and well-being of officers and the organization.   

The Department will collaborate with community stakeholders through an advisory committee that will offer input for the development of data indicators, thresholds, and operating procedures for the new system as well as EIS policy governing its use.  The advisory committee will also participate in periodic review of the Early Intervention System to ensure effective operations.  Officers will receive training to facilitate understanding and support for the EIS operations and goals.  Police supervisor training on the EIS will be a critical part of the process.  Supervisors will have real time access to employee performance data and be expected to regularly monitor and evaluate trends, develop plans for necessary intervention to address risk, monitor results, assess effectiveness, and request additional support when appropriate.