Health & Public Safety Team

The mission of the Health and Public Safety team is twofold: to develop state-of-the-art mental health emergency responses and to ensure law enforcement officers and other first responders are highly trained and mentally healthy so they can handle the extraordinary stress their jobs entail.

This team has been at the national forefront of redefining mental health crisis response as medically focused and data-informed.

In 2022, the Institute continued its work expanding and supporting Multi-Disciplinary Response Teams (MDRTs) in Dallas, Abilene, San Antonio, and Chicago. The MDRT model focuses on treating people on site and connecting them with follow-up care, helping end cycles of mental health emergencies. This effective approach is drawing substantial attention across the country, with New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore all exploring or forming teams. The MDRT model was the only diversion model included in U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s groundbreaking De-Escalation Legislation, which passed Congress and was signed into law in December.

The Institute’s experts worked actively in 2022 with authorities in Chicago to increase the reach of their MDRT program, adding multiple city districts to the Chicago CARE program. The Chicago City Council looked to the Institute for data-driven guidance on improving and expanding CARE team operations.

The team’s programs also continued to support law enforcement officers as they are affected by job-related trauma and stress. In 2022, the Texas Law Enforcement Peer Network expanded to support more officers across the state. Not only are suicide rates higher in law enforcement than in any other profession, trauma is also connected to higher rates of use of force, mistakes, injury, and public complaints. As the only program of its kind nationwide, it was prominently featured as a model for other states at the National Consortium to End Law Enforcement Suicide in Washington, D.C.