Pinellas County, Florida

Reducing Criminal Justice Contacts of Chronic Law Enforcement and Mental Health Consumers through Case Management and Intervention

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Site LE Agency
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

Site Researcher
Scott Young, Ph.D., and Beom Lee, Ph.D., University of South Florida

Site Focus
Mental Health Disorder

SPI Strategy
Crisis intervention teams, Multi-agency collaboration

Site Cohort

Site Profile
Large rural county area of 273.80 sq. miles with a population of 949,827

Project Overview

Pinellas County, Florida’s SPI focuses on concerns surrounding the Baker Act, which allows judges, law enforcement officials, physicians, and mental health professionals to initiate “emergency services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment, either on a voluntary or involuntary basis” (Florida Statutes, Chapter 394). Officers who initiate Baker Act protocol are required to stay with the individual for up to 6-8 hours after the individual has been admitted to a hospital. Not only does this process take time away from other policing services, but it also has not resolved repeat mental health calls. To provide more comprehensive services to chronic consumers of police resources, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) has developed the Chronic Consumer Mitigation Project (CCMP), pairing a trained deputy and mental health service provider to offer resources and support calls for services involving individual with mental health issues.

Data Highlight

  • 50 percent of Pinellas County’s 2014 Baker Act initiations were completed by law enforcement.
  • Of the individuals arrested each year in Pinellas, on average 35.5 percent of them were considered “frequent flyers.”
  • The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) has hired Navigators to ride-along with officers and connect individuals in crisis with appropriate mental health services as well as conduct follow-ups.