December 6, 2017




Poughkeepsie launches Behavioral Evaluation Action Team

POUGHKEEPSIE – Mayor Robert Rolison was joined at Poughkeepsie City Hall on Tuesday by Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, Police Chief Thomas Pape, and Andrew O'Grady, executive director of Mental Health America to formally announce the B. E. A. T. (Behavioral Evaluation Action Team). 

Rolison (podium) introduces the B.E.A.T. members

The initiative has been in service since October and is a specialized collaboration consisting of police officers with Crisis Intervention Training working side-by-side with mental health workers from the county and MHA patrolling the city to interact with individuals considered to be in need of specialized services that address mental health issues, substance abuse problems, and homelessness. 

Since it began, the program has worked 92 man-hours, had 72 encounters, and successfully got 25 individuals referred for service.

Many that this program is designed to assist are known to law enforcement because they have repeatedly responded to 911 calls about those individuals determined to be an emotionally disturbed person.

One of the primary goals of this program, according to Rolison is to assist those persons in a rapid fashion and attempt to get them the services they need.

“Now we are partnering with mental health professionals with our officers to talk to individuals that they encounter right on the street and to be able to offer them the ability to talk about what their challenges in life may be, for a mental health professional to offer potential solutions and to talk about the various support agencies that are available,” the mayor said.

Molinaro, whose agenda has resulted in expanded services to address mental health and substance abuse issues along with the establishment of the county's Stabilization Center, is pleased with this collaboration.  "This program is exactly the progression we (Dutchess County) were hoping for when the county expanded the mental health services available to those in need."

O'Grady supervises some of the team members that patrol with the police. Concerning this initiative, he indicated that it is a perfect match to his agency which has the philosophy of "meeting people where they are when the need arises."


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