WOODBRIDGE, Va. (WDVM) — Prince William County passed a new budget Tuesday night to allow more mental health therapists to respond to calls with their police department.
With the tense climate between communities and police, Prince William County is aiming to get ahead of any potential crisis. The budget will allow for three new mental health therapists and officers to join the Co-Responder Unit come July of this year.
Jonathan Perok with the PWC Police Department said, “This is a win, win for everyone as far as getting more of these teams out there in our community and hopefully were setting an example or the mold for other departments around the country.”
Of the hundreds of calls they’ve responded to, PWC police said they’ve been able to help 25 people avoid criminal charges. The goal is to expand the co-responder unit to 24 hours, 7 days a week, but for now, clinicians are not responding to every single call.
Officials said if you have to call 911 and need a counselor or mental health professional to arrive with the officer, you just have to ask.