NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Wednesday announced that his upcoming budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2024 will include $10 million in funding to expand the ARRIVE Together program to the entire state, creating the first statewide law enforcement and mental health co-responder collaboration in the country.
Governor Murphy, joined by Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, also announced the upcoming expansion of the program, which connects mental health professionals with law enforcement officers to more effectively respond to mental-health-crisis calls, set to take place this year. Utilizing $2 million in funds set aside by the Governor and state lawmakers in the current FY2023 state budget, over two dozen municipalities in 10 different counties will be joining ARRIVE Together starting in May 2023.
“The ARRIVE Together program is a game changer, and I am incredibly pleased by the success the program has had during its pilot stages in connecting those experiencing behavioral health crises with a certified mental health professional,” Murphy said. “This proposed investment and the expansion of the program will help our efforts to enhance law enforcement’s servicing of neighborhoods and will strengthen the bonds between our officers and the communities they serve. Attorney General Platkin, Colonel Callahan, and I will continue to work with our state’s law enforcement and mental health professionals to ensure these crises are de-escalated safely, fairly, and efficiently to protect individuals in mental distress.”
“ARRIVE Together began as a State Police pilot program, and through partnerships forged between law enforcement and mental health providers we are building it into a statewide program,” Platkin said. “It has been a transformative and powerful model, consistently de-escalating situations that could have had far worse outcomes for everyone involved. With the support and vision of Governor Murphy, I am committed to continuing to grow this program and improve services for our most vulnerable residents.”
That imminent expansion will bring the total number of law enforcement agencies involved in the initiative to over thirty. In most jurisdictions, mental health professionals will accompany plainclothes officers in unmarked police vehicles to respond to 9-1-1 calls for service relating to mental or behavioral health crises, although each county may employ a slightly different framework of interaction between the mental health and law enforcement responders. Nine different health care providers around the state have signed on to dedicate their resources to work with police on this effort, which is designed to form relationships between individuals needing help and law enforcement and mental health professionals, in order to de-escalate situations and transition away from law enforcement relying on emergency rooms or use of force.
In addition, in 2022, the New Jersey State Police won a federal “Connect and Protect” grant for approximately $550,000 to expand the ARRIVE Together program. Today, Attorney General Platkin announced the agencies being awarded sub-grants from that money to bring the initiative to their jurisdictions.
“The deployment of mental health professionals, in concert with New Jersey State Troopers, has provided vital services to those in mental distress at the time where it is needed the most,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We have taken the program to the forefront as an investment into the well-being of the citizens we are sworn to serve. Just as emergency medical services are summoned to a scene to serve as a higher level of patient care, the State Police recognizes that the trusted partners of the ARRIVE Together Program have the ability to mitigate crisis, reduce the risk of physical harm, and potentially bridge the gap into continued compassionate care for citizens struggling with mental health issues. We celebrate the expansion of this indispensable plan of action and look forward to joining new law enforcement partners as they join in this altruistic project.”
“A law enforcement response is rarely the most effective or appropriate way to help someone experiencing mental health crisis,” said Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman. “New Jersey’s ARRIVE Together program – which puts mental health professionals at the center of the intervention – is an evidence-based solution to address this national and systemic challenge. This expansion of ARRIVE Together will continue to improve public safety, prevent tragedies and serve NJ residents more effectively.”
With today’s expansion, police officers from the following municipalities and agencies will be participating in the program:
Cape May County
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office
Hudson County Sheriff’s Office
Union County Commissioners
Union County Police
Union County Sheriff’s Office
To view the full list of participating law enforcement leaders and partners, click here.
ARRIVE Together first launched as a pilot program in December 2021 by the State Police in Cumberland County, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Human Services, the Cumberland County Guidance Center, and the Cumberland County Prosecutor. In June 2022, the program expanded to a pilot in Union County run by the Elizabeth and Linden Police Departments and Trinitas Medical Center.
In both counties, ARRIVE Teams have been responding two days per week to calls and following up with residents they have previously assisted. Both programs expanded to three days this year, plus additional jurisdictions joined ARRIVE in 2023: the Bridgeton and Roselle Park Police Departments.
The program also spread to Atlantic County, with the Atlantic City Police trying out an innovative new version of ARRIVE in which telehealth tools aid law enforcement officers in better responding to mental health-related calls. Officers are equipped with tablets that can be used by individuals in distress to obtain real-time telehealth services from mental health professionals at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center.
The teams of law enforcement officers paired with mental health screeners have made over 300 contacts with residents suffering from mental health disorders or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders. During those interactions, there have been no injuries, and no response by an ARRIVE Together team has escalated into an arrest. Responding officers have only used force for involuntary transports of individuals ordered by the mental health professionals who co-responded.
“We wholeheartedly support the ARRIVE together initiative. Pairing people experiencing a mental health crisis with professionals in real-time is critical for first responders and the communities we serve. This endeavor will reduce the risk of injury to police and the people they are called upon to serve,” said Richard Rivera, Co-founder of the National Coalition of Latino Officers. “The program also underscores the necessity for reviewing and analyzing force encounters with police to improve training and better community relations.”
“We are pleased to see the steady growth of the ARRIVE Together program in New Jersey, as an increasing number of municipal police departments are collaborating with mental health providers,” said Thomas Dellane, president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. “While this program is only in its infancy, it has enormous potential. ARRIVE Together has already demonstrated itself as a vital tool for law enforcement, as we respond to incidents involving individuals suffering from mental or behavioral struggles. We salute Attorney General Matthew Platkin’s commitment to this initiative, as well as the State Police and local police departments that are already involved. We look forward to its steady expansion across New Jersey.”