Crisis Call Diversion Program to again expand service hours

January 30, 2024

Today, Mayor Craig Greenberg joined leaders from Seven Counties Services, Emergency Services and Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) to announce the city’s successful Crisis Call Diversion Program (CCDP), also known as “Deflection,” will expand its service hours to 10 a.m. -2 a.m. beginning Sunday, February 4. The program sends certain 911 calls to a non-police response and currently operates from 10 a.m. -10 p.m., seven days a week. 

“From ensuring Louisvillians in crisis receive the best care possible to freeing up hours for our LMPD officers to focus on violent crime, the Crisis Call Diversion Program has been a huge success for our city,” said Mayor Greenberg. “These additional service hours will help build on this progress as we work with urgency to make Louisville a safer, stronger and healthier city for all our people.”  

The pilot program was initially launched in March of 2022 with a focus on LMPD’s Fourth Division. Following its success, the program expanded a year later to all LMPD divisions, and will now operate 16 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We started Deflection in the Fourth Division because data showed that’s where we had the most mental health calls in the past,” said Emergency Services Executive Director Jody Meiman. “By tracking when and where calls that meet the criteria of the program are coming in from, it showed us where we should go next, which was to expand service hours through the daytime and into the late hours of the night to get people the right help they need on the spot.”

Since its launch, the CCDP has resulted in more than 2,700 Crisis Triage Worker (CTW) encounters, with the average encounter lasting about 16 minutes, though some can last more than an hour. In 2023 alone, the MetroSafe 911 Center deflected more than 1,800 calls to a non-police response. The Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) made more than 700 mobile runs to help nearly 500 unique individuals, with the average mobile encounter lasting about 40 minutes in duration. These Deflection efforts continue to relieve Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers of hundreds of hours of time that might have been spent on the calls, further allowing officers to focus on violent crime.

“We are grateful for this much needed expansion of resources. LMPD remains committed to providing protection and quality service to all residents and visitors. Our top priority is public safety, and the Deflection Program will allow us to focus our attention on continuing to reduce violent crime,” said LMPD Deputy Chief Steven Healey.

As of Feb. 4, Seven Counties Services will have 34 staff members dedicated to Deflection response, including 11 CTWs at MetroSafe and 19 Mobile Crisis Responders responding in the field. Seven Counties Services will continue to hire more people to meet the goal of having the CCDP operate 24/7. 

“The Deflection program seeks to provide support in the moment to persons experiencing crisis while providing connection to ongoing resources to help folks stay safely and supported in their communities,” said Nicole Wiseman, Unit Manager for Deflection, Seven Counties Services. “Our services are voluntary, trauma-informed, person centered, and focused on harm reduction. We seek to provide care in the least restrictive, least invasive way possible. We seek to collaborate with our community partners to provide the best care possible to individuals in crisis. Finally, we seek to break the cycle of unnecessary hospitalization and incarceration.”

Here’s how the program works:

  • When a person calls 911, MetroSafe call takers initially triage the call by asking questions such as “are you experiencing a mental health crisis” and questions regarding safety, such as weapons in their possession or if they’ve taken active steps to harm themselves or others, requiring Emergency Medical Services (EMS) intervention. 
    • Calls from 1st and 2nd parties are eligible for a possible CTW response. Calls from a third party, a person who is not physically with the individual experiencing a mental health crisis or calls where there are weapons involved, are not eligible for a possible CTW response.
  • If deemed appropriate, the call is transferred to a CTW in a Behavioral Health Hub within MetroSafe. 
  • The CTW team functions somewhat like crisis hotline staff to de-escalate, provide emotional support, create a safety plan and problem solve with the person in crisis.
  • If it’s determined that a face-to-face response would be beneficial, CTWs initiate a mobile response. 
  • Mobile responders, trained in mental health crisis intervention, meet the person where they are to further de-escalate and assess the situation and, if appropriate, connect the individual to services. Responders have the option of transporting the person to a treatment facility or to any other community resource including shelter. 
  • If the call does not meet the initial criteria for an alternative response and LMPD arrives on scene, they can self-initiate a mental health response through Deflection once they determine the scene is safe and secure.

Those interested in a career with Seven Counties working in the CCDP should visit https://sevencounties.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/SevenCountiesCareers and search “Deflection.”

“This is a perfect example of when the right thing to do for our community is also the fiscally responsible thing. By focusing on meeting people where they are and getting them the services they really need, Deflection reduces the burden on other Metro departments, including LMPD, the detention center, and community’s ERs. I am excited to see it expand,” said Councilman Ben Reno-Weber, D-8.

To watch an informational video about Deflection featuring Councilman Reno-Weber and Executive Director Meiman, visit MetroTV’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmyRva6a5lo

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