ST. ALBANS CITY — When St. Albans police officers respond to a call for service, they don’t always know what situation they’ll be running into, but it’s helpful to have a mental health clinician nearby.
For the past eight months, that person has typically been crisis service specialist Samantha Weber.
Weber has been embedded with the St. Albans Police Department since February as the department’s de facto mental health responder. She goes on patrols with officers and responds to regular calls for service alongside mental health calls – a first for the department.
“Cops are doing their jobs and sometimes, there’s another job that helps in these situations,” Weber said.
Northwestern Counseling and Support Services first partnered with law enforcement agencies in 2014 to make mental health clinicians available to both St. Albans PD and the Vermont State Police.
Previously, troopers had few options when a mental health situation escalated, and delivering patients to emergency rooms often tied up cruisers when they were needed on other calls. This initial program set out to change that.
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