Calgary Police and Crisis Team partnership expands staff, hours

CALGARY — A pact between Alberta Health Services and Calgary police is being strengthened, which will see the Police and Crisis Team (PACT) add four hours of coverage, making it available 22-hours-a-day.

PACT pairs police officers with mental health clinicians to divert people who are in crisis — and suffering mental illness and addiction issues — from the justice system and hospital emergency departments.

Individuals are assessed and stabilized within the community then they and their families are connected with resources and supports. 

PACT will now respond to calls between 6 a.m. and 4 a.m. daily, up from being available 18 hours (6 a.m. to midnight). The day shift has also doubled its capacity to respond to incoming calls.  

“PACT works because of the great partnership that AHS has with CPS and community providers,” said Colleen Karran, AHS director, Calgary zone adult south and geriatric mental health. 

“Working together, our PACT teams make decisions in collaboration with families and the community to provide the best support we can to the individual experiencing addiction and mental health distress,” says 

The expansion was made possible through the hiring of six additional AHS clinicians and six police officers through funding from the new Community Safety Investment Framework, which aims to support Calgarians in crisis due to mental health concerns, addiction or other similar challenges.

Funding for the PACT expansion is being allocated from CPS’ $8-million commitment to address this work. AHS has also directed about $625,000 to support the initiative. 

More than 5,100 people have been assisted by PACT since the program launched in 2009.  

“We know that people experiencing a mental health crisis deserve and need specialized care,” said Staff Sgt. Peter Duchnij of the CPS restorative justice unit.

“Since its inception, PACT has made a meaningful difference and we know this increase in their mandate will better serve our community.”

 

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