Chapter 19 of the of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 24 the following section:-
Section 25. There shall be a center of excellence in community policing and behavioral health that shall serve as a centralized resource for cost-effective and evidence-based mental health and substance use crisis response training programs for municipal police officers, the goal of which shall be to decrease the unnecessary arrest and incarceration of people with behavioral health conditions. The center shall be established through a partnership between the executive office of public safety and security (“EOPSS”), the executive office of health and human services (“EOHHS”), departments of mental health (“DMH”) and public health (“DPH”), and the national alliance on mental illness (“NAMI Mass”). Subject to appropriation, the first year will include a planning process involving all the above-named parties and chaired by representatives of the secretaries of EOHHS and EOPSS. The purpose of the center shall be to conduct activities as the secretaries and commissioners may determine in furtherance of its primary mission, which shall include: (i) serving as a clearinghouse for best practices in police response to people with mental illness and substance use disorders; (ii) developing and implementing robust crisis intervention training curricula for all veteran and new recruit municipal police officers; (iii) providing technical assistance to cities and towns to develop collaborative partnerships between law enforcement and human services providers that maximize referrals to treatment services; and (iv) establishing metrics for success and evaluation of outcomes of these programs.
The center of excellence will ensure that each training opportunity provides the highest quality evidence-based curriculum, by carrying out the following roles: (i) develop and maintain curriculum that is high quality and up-to-date with the latest research on best practices in community policing; (ii) recruit and support trainers who are professionals working in the fields of criminal justice and behavioral health; (iii) conduct research on effectiveness and best practices of training and other programs; (iv) ensure that trainings are targeted to meet specific local needs of cities and towns and within regions; (v) support police departments in implementing improved behavioral health responses through responsive policies and procedures and partnerships with local resources; (vi) provide reimbursement for trainers to ensure recruitment and retention of high quality trainers; and, (vi) assist municipal police departments as needed to cover backfill costs, provided that said reimbursement shall not exceed 100% of the estimated backfill needs at a rate of $57 per hour per officer.
A partnership between EOHHS, EOPSS and NAMI Mass, the center of excellence will ensure quality and consistency of behavioral health response efforts across the Commonwealth; conduct research and evaluation to establish best practices in the field; and serve as a training and technical assistance resource to other workforces to increase expertise in responding to behavioral health issues, such as the state police, the transit police, campus police, hospital police and security forces, the judiciary, probation, parole, and county and state corrections.
The Center shall publish an annual report including: (i) narrative and statistical information about service demand, delivery and cost, and identified service gaps during the prior year; (ii) the effectiveness of the services delivered during the prior year; and (iii) review of research analyzed or conducted during the prior year. The center shall submit the annual report by February 1st to the governor, the commissioner of mental health, secretary of public safety and the general court, by filing it with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse, the joint committee on public safety and homeland security, and the senate and the house committees on ways and means.
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