The New Windsor Police Department seeks further assistance and support for crisis intervention calls and responses, support for proper treatment and resources for individuals and for increased police officer safety.
New Windsor Police Chief Robert Doss and Town Supervisor George Meyers have each expressed their concerns about the rising crisis intervention concerns.
“We are doing the best we can with what we have,” Meyers said.
On May 2, Doss spoke to the town board and reported that New Windsor and the City of Newburgh go back and forth between the number of crisis intervention calls each month. The two municipalities are the highest in Orange County.
According to a prepared report from the police department for 2021, the Town of New Windsor Police responded to 298 crisis intervention calls during that year.
According to Doss, New Windsor patients from crisis intervention calls are transported to Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis or Garnet Health Medical Center in Middletown.
Two police officers are required to ride along with the patient or use other vehicles to transport patients to the hospital and officers must address the medical staff at the hospital upon arrival.
Each time a crisis intervention call ends, if it falls within the criteria of crisis intervention, Doss said a form is filled out with the required information and details of the call. That form is then sent out by Crisis Intervention Coordinator Sergeant Christopher Sylvester.
According to Doss, he and his officers, detectives and other members of his staff have all been trained in crisis intervention, which requires 40 hours of training. Crisis intervention training is a higher level of training that officers can receive outside of the academy. With this training, the officers are then better able to de-escalate the crisis intervention situation.
“What crisis intervention training is, it’s advanced training in dealing with individuals who are going through a mental health crisis. Those crises could be anything from they’re suicidal, they’re a threat to themselves, they’re a threat to others, they’re acting irrationality, they’re behavior’s odd or different,” said Doss. “The ultimate goal is to get help for that individual.”
This training was made possible through an Orange County grant received in 2017 for $100,000. New Windsor took $35,000 and used those funds for officer and department training and to amend and add new department policies for crisis intervention.
A program that New Windsor has instituted is the mobile access program [MAP] which allows officers to have access to a mobile device that connects a mental health professional with the individual in crisis.
Doss discussed several actions to address crisis intervention that include a possible partnership with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to assist with New Windsor and other municipalities, receiving feedback from the county on the cases with crisis intervention, bringing in a full-time mental health professional to New Windsor to assist on the calls and do follow ups and to have more mental health officials or supervisors review repeat contact reports to find proper resources for these individuals.
For those interested in learning more about the New Windsor Police Department’s work, Doss recommended to the public to visit the town police website and review the Community Advisory Panel agenda, documents and meeting videos for reference. The Crisis Intervention Team in New Windsor can be reached at (845) 563-4660.