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Dept Head: Chief Jeff Swoboda

Mental Health Co-Responder Program History

Three people kneeling down talking to a distressed person on a stairway.
 

FCPS assists an increasing number of community members with behavioral health conditions, as well as their families who are concerned about them, on a daily basis. With the goals of increasing the safety of those individuals and officers who encounter them and to help families and individuals in crisis access appropriate community services, the Mental Health Co-Responder position has been created. This is one element of the department’s comprehensive Wellness Program.

Fort Collins Police Services has been working to organize a co-responder program since 2015 and in July of 2018, the program officially began serving the Fort Collins community. The Co-Responder program is one facet of FCPS’s Wellness Program, an internal and external portion of the department that focuses on wellness for both the community and those who serve the community

Services and Goals

Co-Responder Program Overview

The co-responder program is an integral part of the department’s overall philosophy of de-escalation, or in other words, aligned with the department’s philosophy of connecting with and helping community members without the use of force as often as possible. Fort Collins Police Services has partnered with SummitStone Health Partners, the University of Colorado Health (UC Health), and the state of Colorado to fund co-responder positions for not only FCPS but also the larger Larimer County area.

In Colorado, there are several co-responder programs that have been in operation for varying lengths of time spanning across the state. Nationally, co-response has been a topic of discussion since approximately 2015, when a federal grant was offered to departments to embed a mental health professional with community servants in an effort to better address the needs of the community as, increasingly, police are being called to address health care matters, which are not always a police matter.

Co-Responder programs vary from department to department based on the community and departmental needs. Here in Fort Collins, co-responders join officers on scene to assess and refer community members to appropriate services and they spend time following up on referrals from officers in an effort to resource community members meaningfully and in hopes of decreasing unnecessary hospital admissions or judicial involvement.

Field Services

The co-responder assists officers and dispatchers in dealing with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis to foster the safety of all involved parties, reduce the frequency of interactions with law enforcement, reduce repeated unnecessary trips to the hospital emergency room, and to help those in crisis access the most appropriate treatment services.

Community Paramedic Program

The Community Paramedic Partnership began in February 2019 between University of Colorado Health (UCH) and Fort Collins Police Services in response to the emerging need in the community for joint medical and mental health services. A community paramedic, co-responder, and an officer plan visits to citizens' homes who would like assistance with medical and mental health needs. Services range from assessing for fall risks and medication reconciliation to mental health safety planning and case management services. Referrals to this program are made by FCPS officers who identify a need for this service when interacting with citizens on scene and after approval from the citizen is provided for the team to reach out and schedule a visit.

Interagency Treatment Group

The Interagency Treatment Group is a monthly forum of 25 community agencies; medical, mental health, social service, criminal justice and law enforcement, designed to assist Fort Collins Police Services in its efforts to intervene safely and effectively with individuals who exhibit mental illness and addictive behaviors. 

Law enforcement, fire, mental health, medical, justice system, and community social service agencies interact with many of the same individuals with mental illness or dual diagnosis issues on a regular basis. The best use of limited community resources requires effective coordination of services. The Mental Health Co-Responder attends this meeting to facilitate coordination of intervention efforts. 

The program’s mission is to bring together agencies that share clients with law enforcement in order to effectively coordinate services between agencies, provide the most effective interventions, reduce recidivism, enhance the safety of all service providers, and provide education and emotional support for agency representatives.

Behavioral Health Staff

Stephanie Booco, LPC, LAC

Stephanie Booco
 

Mental Health Co-Responder
(970) 416-2241 | c2Jvb2NvQGZjZ292LmNvbQ==

Stephanie holds a degree in counseling with a specialization in forensic psychology and is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and licensed addiction counselor (LAC). Her specialties include substance use, trauma, and clinical work with first responders and military personnel. She has worked in the field of forensic counseling for the last seven years and joined the FCPS Co-Responder Program in July 2018. As a co-responder, Stephanie provides on-scene triage and follow up services. When she is not co-responding with officers, she is connecting with community partners and educating the community about the Co-Response program through FCPS. Stephanie assists with the programmatic development of the Co-Responder Program, as well as other Community Behavioral Health services offered by FCPS, such as the Mental Health Minute and Community Paramedic Partnership.

Dan Dworkin, Ph.D.

Dan Dworkin
 

Police Psychologist - Coordinator
(970) 484-3201 | ZGR3b3JraW5AZmNnb3YuY29t

Dr. Dan Dworkin has been the police psychologist with Fort Collins for the past 18 years. He offers confidential counseling services to all staff and their families, coordinates the department’s peer support team, trains all new officers and dispatchers, and provides ongoing training for staff. He created and chairs the community Interagency group, created the mental health co-responder program, and he is a Crisis Intervention Training instructor for police officers. All of these programs are designed to help police officers work effectively and safety with those in a mental health crisis. His clinical work has focused on: grief and loss, post-traumatic stress / anxiety and stress management, depression, couples counseling, coping with cancer / physical illness, pain management, career / management consulting, and the psychological aspects of using deadly force.

Dan Murphy

Dan Murphy
 

Special Operations Unit Lieutenant
(970) 416-2660 | ZG11cnBoeUBmY2dvdi5jb20=

Lieutenant Dan Murphy has been a police officer since 1984 and a supervisor since 1996. He has been assigned to supervisory positions in Patrol Operations, a County Drug Task Force, and the Criminal Impact/Fugitive Unit. He was assigned to SWAT Operations as the SWAT Sergeant full-time for 10.5 years. He has been the SWAT Commander since 2016, has been a SWAT Team Leader since 1995, and has been a SWAT officer since 1991. His lieutenant assignments have included the Professional Standards Unit, Patrol Watch Commander, and most recently, the Special Operations Commander of the SWAT team, the K-9 Unit, Bomb Team liaison and the Supervisor of the Co-Responder Mental Health Team. Lt. Murphy believes in and supports an agency-wide philosophy of de-escalation and solid tactical decision-making that saves lives.

 

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