MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Three police departments in Muskegon County have added HealthWest mental health clinicians to their departments, the Muskegon County Crisis Intervention Team announced.
“The Muskegon Police Department values our embedded social worker program because it bridges compassion and public safety, forging a path toward a more holistic and community-centered approach to law enforcement,” Muskegon Police Chief Tim Kozal said in a release. “Through this partnership, we strive to build trust and pave the way for a safer and stronger community.”
The clinicians include Michelle Pouch with the Muskegon Police Department, Angela Smith with the Muskegon Heights Police Department, and Kerry Fretty with the Norton Shores Police Department.
The positions are paid for with grant funding and allow for a “co-response to calls that may involve mental health issues, and held result in safer interactions between officers and the community and connections to meaningful care for residents who may need help,” the county’s Crisis Intervention Team said.
“The addition of Angela Smith to the Muskegon Heights Police Department as our clinician and the collaboration with HealthWest has allowed us to provide services to our citizens like the Crisis Intervention Team and the implementation of mental health referrals,” Muskegon Heights Poice Chief Maurice A. Sain said in a release. “These efforts have also provided a new and refreshing way to educate and train law enforcement officers with proper training when interacting with someone suffering from a mental health crisis. I am extremely excited to see how much more this collaboration will positively impact the services we provide to citizens of Muskegon Heights and finally understand that sometimes arresting individuals may not be the best solution to the problem.”