Grand Prairie Community Outreach Partnership And Education
GRAND PRAIRIE – Sometimes it can be pretty hard to cope, particularly these days with stressors everywhere.
That’s why, almost a year ago, the Grand Prairie Police Department created an initiative designed to help those suffering from mental illness.
The program is called COPE and it stands for “Community Outreach Partnership and Education.” In a nutshell, it is all about an important information-sharing initiative, which allows Grand Prairie first responders to have immediate access to helpful diagnosis details about people in their community suffering from mental illness.
“It is not uncommon for our officers to encounter people suffering from mental illness, but usually these encounters occur when the resident is already in mental crisis,” said Daniel Scesney, Grand Prairie Chief of Police. “This program not only enables our officers to have critical diagnosis details in advance in most cases, but also enables our team to proactively check on residents and connect them with needed resources to remain healthy.”
And staying healthy these days is even more important.
There is no cost for the program and its voluntary so residents can decide if they believe COPE is a good idea for their health and safety.
Proactive Approach To Avoid A Crisis
“When registering for the COPE program, the person and/or their family will meet with the Crisis Support Unit,” Courtney Runnels, LPC, CART, Crisis Support Supervisor, Grand Prairie Police Department. “During this meeting, if there are any unmet needs the unit can work to assist in facilitation of referrals. Our goal is to provide a proactive approach in an attempt to avoid a crisis.”
The program is especially designed for residents who might have difficulty expressing needs or require assistance from first responders.
If interested in the program, residents can provide demographic information, a current digital picture of themselves or loved one, and emergency contacts along with supporting medical documentation to be in the program. If a police officer encounters a person, vehicle, or residence of someone enrolled in COPE, officers will have access to confidential and critical diagnosis details, helping to facilitate assistance and reduce the potential danger of the encounter.
“Crisis is individualized and having persons’ share information about themselves or their loved ones helps first responders understand what best helps them,” Runnels concluded. “We believe there is no such thing as having too much information. The more information we can be provided, the better equipped we are in responding.”
For more information and to sign up visit the COPE Program Main Page: https://www.gptx.org/services/cope-program