Community Safety

Durham Community Safety Department (DCSD) works to enhance public safety through community-centered approaches to prevention and intervention as alternatives to policing and the criminal legal system. In its second year, the department has three primary functions: piloting new response models for 911 calls for service, collaborating with community members to identify additional approaches to public safety, and managing and evaluating existing contracts and external partnerships intended to advance public safety. 

introducing HEART: Durham's new crisis response pilots 

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On June 27th, 2022, DCSD launched 3 new crisis response pilots that aim to connect people experiencing non-violent mental health crises or quality of life concerns with the right care by sending new responses that better match residents’ needs. A fourth pilot launched at the end of September 2022. Our goal with these pilot approaches is to connect our Durham neighbors to the right care — starting from the point at which someone calls 9-1-1, to the warm handoff to those prepared to help meet the needs of our neighbors in crisis. 

The 4 new crisis response pilots are:

  1. Crisis Call Diversion (CCD): CCD embeds mental health Clinicians in Durham's 9-1-1 call center. 
  2. Community Response Teams (CRT): CRT dispatches unarmed 3-person teams as first responders to non-violent behavioral health and quality of life calls for service.
  3. Care Navigation (CN): Care Navigators follow up with people after meeting with one of our first responders to help connect to the community-based care they need and want.   
  4. Co-Response (CoR): CoR pairs Clinicians with Durham Police Officers to respond to certain calls for service that pose a greater potential safety risk.

These first response teams operate under the name of "HEART" (Holistic Empathetic Assistance Response Teams).  

HEART'S DATA DASHBOARD 

Come see what we're learning! Community Safety tracks and shares data about the HEART pilots at www.durhamnc.gov/HEART-data or click the image below: 

HEART data dashboard Nov 2022 thumbnail

DASHBOARD GUIDE

Click the image below to view a guide that provides more context to some of the data on the HEART dashboard: 

HEART dashboard guide August 2022 thumbnail Opens in new window


Learn more about how each HEART pilot works, below: 

  1. CRISIS CALL DIVERSION
  2. COMMUNITY RESPONSE TEAMS
  3. CARE NAVIGATION
  4. CO-RESPONSE
DCSD_CCD

Crisis Call Diversion embeds licensed mental health clinicians into Durham’s 911 Call Center to triage, assess, and respond to behavioral and mental health related calls for service.


Pilot Goals: 

  • Connect callers who are experiencing mental or behavioral health crises to the right response and care based on their needs. 
  • Divert appropriate behavioral and mental health related calls for service away from unnecessary in-person responses or interactions with the criminal justice system. 
  • Reduce risk of harm when responding in-person to mental health crises.


Crisis Call Counselors embedded in our 911 call center serve 8 major functions:

  1. Assess 911 callers’ needs, complete safety plans, and help identify the appropriate response. 
  2. Divert non-emergent crisis calls that do not require an in-person response. 
  3. Connect people to resources to support with future mental health-related needs. 
  4. Dispatch Community Response Teams as appropriate. 
  5. Consult with 911 dispatchers, providing information that can support better outcomes. 
  6. De-escalate situations prior to the arrival of first responders.
  7. Support first responders in the field as unanticipated mental health related issues arise. 
  8. Follow up with callers after a crisis to check in and help connect them to any services that might be needed.

For answers to some common questions about each crisis response pilot, read below or click the image to view this information as a printable document: 

DCSD HEART pilot overview  Opens in new window


What does this pilot do?

Crisis Call Diversion (CCD)
Adds Clinicians to our 911 Call Center so we can quickly connect you to a mental health professional when you or a loved one is experiencing a behavioral health crisis
Community Response Teams (CRT) 
Dispatches unarmed, 3-person teams as first responders instead of police when you call 9-1-1 about non-violent mental health crises or quality of life concerns
Co-Response (CoR) 
Dispatches Clinicians along with CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) -trained Police Officers to higher risk 911 calls involving mental health crises or quality of life concerns
Care Navigation (CN)

Provides in-person or phone-based follow-up after meeting with one of our responders when you need additional support connecting to care


Who is staffing each pilot?

Crisis Call Diversion (CCD)
Licensed mental health Clinicians
Community Response Teams (CRT) 
Licensed mental health clinicians, peer support specialists and EMTs
Co-Response (CoR) 
Licensed mental health Clinicians (in partnership with Durham Police Department CIT-trained Officers)
Care Navigation (CN)

Licensed mental health clinicians and peer support specialists


When might I interact with this pilot?

Crisis Call Diversion (CCD)
When you call 9-1-1
Community Response Teams (CRT), Co-Response (CoR), and Care Navigation (CN) 

When you need an in-person response to a 9-1-1 call and live in the pilot service area.


Can I request this response?

All pilots: Residents should not worry about how to request the right response. Please continue to call 9-1-1 and Call Takers will route the call to the appropriate responder based on the needs of the caller.


Where does this pilot operate?

Crisis Call Diversion (CCD)
Durham citywide 
Community Response Teams (CRT), Co-Response (CoR), and Care Navigation (CN)  
In 12 police beats (111, 114, 112, 113, 122, 214, 223, 411, 413, 511, 512, 513) represented in this pilot service area map


What are the hours of operation?

Crisis Call Diversion (CCD)

Mon–Fri, 9:00am–5:00pm

Community Response Teams (CRT) 
7 days/week, 10:00am–9:00pm
Co-Response (CoR) 

Mon–Fri, 9:30am–4:30pm 

Care Navigation (CN)

Mon–Fri, 9:00am–5:00pm 


What kinds of calls are eligible for this pilot?

Crisis Call Diversion (CCD)
Suicide Threat, Mental Health Crisis, and other calls involving behavioral health concerns
Community Response Teams (CRT) 

Suicide Threat, Mental Health Crisis, Trespass, Urgent and Non-urgent Welfare Check, Intoxicated Person, Panhandling, Nuisance, Prostitution, Public Indecency and Lost Person calls where the person is not in possession of a weapon or physically violent toward others.

Co-Response (CoR) 

Attempted suicide; Custody issue; Involuntary commitment; and any of the following where there is an increased risk of violence and/or a weapon is present: Trespass; Intoxicated person; Panhandling / nuisance; Indecency / lewdness; Prostitution; Physical or verbal disturbance; Harassment; Threat; Reckless activity; Abuse; Threat; Domestic violence 

Care Navigators (CN) will follow up with our neighbors after an initial interaction with one of our CCD or CRT staff.


How were these pilots developed?

All pilots have been developed with much careful planning that continues to be highly collaborative, community-informed, data-driven and evidence-based. 


Is Durham the first to do this?

Crisis Call Diversion (CCD)
No. Durham is the first in the State of North Carolina, but some other U.S. cities with this program include Houston, Austin, Charleston, and Philadelphia
Community Response Teams (CRT) 
No. Durham is the first in the State of North Carolina, but some other U.S. cities with this program include San Francisco, Portland, Denver, and Albuquerque
Co-Response (CoR) 

No. Some other U.S. cities with this program include Denver, Houston, Raleigh, among others. While many cities' co-response programs run entirely out of their Police or Fire departments, Durham partners two public safety departments, Community Safety and Police. 

Care Navigation (CN)

No. Some other U.S. cities with this program include Raleigh, Greensboro, and San Francisco


How can I stay informed about these pilots?

We will post monthly dashboards that will provide a lot of data and information on each pilot. That dashboard is live and will continue to be updated and improved. 


What kind of uniforms will they wear and how can I identify them?

HEART responders do not wear a traditional “uniform” and instead wear matching teal shirts with distinctive logos to help you identify them in the community. Keep an eye out for HEART staff and their vehicles: HEART logo and identity Opens in new window


How will teams be able to communicate with neighbors who don't speak English, or are hard of hearing? 

HEART currently has two Clinicians and one Peer Support Specialist who speak fluent Spanish and the team uses an interpretation service that allows them to immediately connect with an interpreter over phone and video in over 240 languages, including ASL. 


Have more questions? View our FAQ page for answers to other commonly asked questions about the Department and these pilots. 

  1. Department Careers

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN JOINING OUR TEAM!

As a new department, Community Safety will be growing a lot over the next year. We are looking for individuals committed to this department’s mission and who want to be part of work that reduces harm, is highly collaborative, people-centered, equity-oriented, data-driven, and trauma-informed. 

The majority of our positions will be dedicated to piloting new response models to a subset of 911 calls. These positions may have backgrounds as social workers, licensed clinicians, qualified mental health professionals, peer support specialists, counselors, case managers, and EMTs.

If you are interested in joining our team, please check our current job openings.

  1. Department Priorities
  1. department Background