I am the new Central District Mental Health Officer. I have been with the Madison Police Department for almost 3 years and I share my new position with 4 other officers spread across the other districts in Madison. Chief Koval created the full time Mental Health Officer (MHO) position, which started in February 2015, to address the growing need of services for individuals with mental health concerns in Madison.
In my new role thus far, I have been able to work collaboratively with many community agencies and their consumers to create safety plans and conduct home visits with individuals with mental health concerns. The goal in being proactive is to determine the best course of action for the individual and for the responding officers in case a crisis situation arises. I am also responsible for taking a lead role in assisting individuals in protective custody who may be candidates for an emergency detention. This is due to the complexity of the mental health system and the significant amount of time and resources needed to field this type of call.
The Department also has over 20 volunteer Mental Health Liaison officers who act in an official patrol capacity and who work in all 5 districts and throughout all hours of the day. The liaison officers conduct the necessary follow-up on mental health-related calls in addition to their normal patrol duties. Given the unpredictable nature of crisis situations, the liaison officers and I keep an open line of communication so as to maximize successful outcomes.
There are a large number of people with mental health needs in Madison and not all of them have a means of expressing themselves. My favorite part about this new position is establishing lasting relationships with both people who work in the mental health field and those who have mental illnesses and to connect them with each other.
I am excited to see what the rest of the year will bring!
PO Andy Naylor