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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Mental Health First Responders Coming To Rockford

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
Rockford Police Chief Daniel O'Shea Announces Pilot Program

The Rockford Police Department is unveiling a first response pilot program aimed at addressing mental health crises. 


In response to emergency calls that involve a person experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis, RPD, Rosecrance and several other agencies are partnering to develop an alternative to traditional law enforcement.


Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara says it could help de-escalate situations.


“If you're someone in a mental health crisis situation," he said, "it may not be the most comforting thing to see police officers come to your home.”


The Co-Responder Pilot Program will staff response teams with Rockford police, county sheriff’s deputies, and Rosecrance staff. The pilot will run three months and then it will be adapted based on metrics gathered throughout the pilot. 


The costs of the pilot program will be shared by participating agencies.


  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.