Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) redirected over 200 calls for mental health assistance over the past year.
SPS said they began working with the Saskatoon Intervention Service on the mental health and suicide intervention call transfer protocol.
As part of the program, SPS assess callers and redirects them to mental health services if they meet the criteria.
To be redirected callers must acknowledge that the situation is not an emergency, there are no weapons involved, the report does not deal with self-harm or harm to others, no crime is being committed, the call is not to report domestic or intimate partner disputes, and there is no urgent need for medical attention.
Callers must also give permission to transfer the call, SPS said.
In the first year of the program, 210 calls were transferred to the Mobile Crisis Service, which reduced the demand for police resources.
“This commitment to collaborate on an alternative response involves redirecting specific 911 calls to our skilled, caring, and professional crisis workers to ensure timely assessment, effective crisis resolution, and safety,” executive director for the Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Service Rita Field said.
“The positive response from individuals and families has strengthened our resolve to continue with this important partnership as we together examine and reimagine service provision in the area of community safety.”
Deputy chief Mitch Yuzdepski said the call transfer protocol was a good example of how police can partner with community organizations.
SPS said the program will remain in effect indefinitely.