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AG Platkin joins Brookings Institution for fireside chat after study finds ARRIVE Together pilot ‘highly effective’ at reducing uses of force, arrests, disparate treatment of residents

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin Monday joined the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution to discuss a recent Brookings study on New Jersey’s ARRIVE Together program, which concluded that the program led to fewer uses of force, arrests and racial disparities in policing outcomes, and more people getting mental health treatment.

Attorney General Platkin joined Governance Studies at Brookings, a public policy research nonprofit, for a fireside chat and panel discussion on ARRIVE, an initiative to provide greater mental health resources to individuals suffering mental or behavioral health emergencies that come into contact with law enforcement.

The event, “Policing, public safety, and mental health: Findings from the New Jersey ARRIVE Together Program,” featured Brookings Senior Fellow, Dr. Rashawn Ray, principal researcher on the ARRIVE study, which analyzed data from 342 calls and follow-ups involving the ARRIVE two-day-per-week pilot programs in Cumberland and Union Counties between December 2021 and January 2023.

“This independent study shows the ARRIVE Together program works, and it works well,” said Platkin in a statement after the discussion. “If the results here are any indication, this could be a game changer in terms of how law enforcement interacts with communities, how police serve and are perceived by the public, how police resources are deployed and how people suffering from mental crisis are assisted.”

The report found ARRIVE Together is “a highly effective program” that reduces arrests and uses of force, reduces disparate race-based outcomes to police encounters, links people suffering from mental health episodes with the services they need and reduces the workload on law enforcement, such that resources can be redirected to criminal activity and violent crimes.

A wide array of incidents was reviewed as part of the study, including ARRIVE teams’ responses to individuals who were suicidal, who had overdosed or failed to take medication, people who were under the influence, domestic violence situations, threats being made, emotional outbursts and more.

According to the report, with several of the calls for service, if it were not for the ARRIVE Together program, the person in crisis would likely have been arrested because the officers would not have had alternatives to provide people with the appropriate services and resources. The study found that in some cases officers likely had the legal authority to arrest a higher number of people than were ultimately taken into custody, but the presence of a mental health professional gave officers additional options to assist community members.

Additionally, the report concluded that ARRIVE personnel were often able to diffuse situations with crisis intervention techniques and the person in crisis was not subject to arrest.

“Within communities, ARRIVE Together has the ability to help establish and restore trust in law enforcement,” the report said. “Within police departments, ARRIVE Together has the potential to change law enforcement culture in positive ways and provide officers with more strategies in their toolkit to better communicate and interact with the public.”

The analysis also revealed no significant differences in arrival time, dispatching or the arrest or use of force resulting from the race, gender, or age of the person in crisis.

“ARRIVE has the potential to and may already be improving police-community relations and restor[ing] trust in law enforcement,” the report said.

Governor Murphy announced on February 28 that his proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget will include $10 million in funding to expand ARRIVE Together to the entire state, creating the first statewide law enforcement and mental health co-responder collaboration in the country.

In the interim, the program is currently expanding in May 2023, with over two dozen municipalities in a number of different counties joining. This expansion will bring the total number of law enforcement agencies involved in the program to nearly 40 across New Jersey, with each jurisdiction employing a version of the initiative that best fits their community’s needs.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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