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May 2024 Community Safety Department Update

Cambridge Public Safety Officials Visit Durham Crisis Response Program

Welcome to the latest CARE Team newsletter!

TheCommunity Safety Department (CSD) is a department that exists outside of the traditional scope of public safety. Our mission is to provide additional services to enhance the community’s health and well-being. CSD values compassion in prevention its intervention efforts. Our Department will prioritize issues of mental and behavioral health in some of our most vulnerable communities. The CARE Team, within the Community Safety Department, is comprised of four CARE Responders and one CARE Clinician. The CARE Team prioritizes a trauma-informed lens and resources when attending to the needs of the community. We are excited to launch a 9-1-1 response in Spring 2024 to serve the community and we look forward to keeping our community interested in our progress with this new monthly newsletter!

Our team is continuing to do outreach within Cambridge and meet with providers and partner organizations. Currently, the CARE Team has been developing our follow-up care with community members. This effort is guided by CARE Responders who meet community members, assess their needs, and advocate to connect them with resources. The CARE Team has worked diligently on topics of food insecurity, providing housing to those experiencing homelessness, workforce development, combatting substance use disorder, and more. CSD anticipates the expansion of its efforts and the widespread benefits of this work for Cambridge.

CARE Team Responding to Needle Pick Up Calls
On February 20, 2024, the Community Safety Department launched our response to needle pick up calls. This effort ensures public wellness by the CARE Team removing needles from an openly accessible space. Removing this danger not only protects vulnerable passerby's, but also grants greater support to CSD’s first responder colleagues, the Cambridge Fire Department. By reducing this burden, Cambridge firefighters are able to focus their attention on other fire safety and direct pressing medical concerns. Since launch, the CARE Team has responded to 50 calls dispatched by the Emergency Communications Center, by SeeClickFix, and independently assessed by CSD. Combining these efforts, 278 needles have been successfully removed with an average response time of less than 20 minutes. CSD is proud of its fast-paced and effective response which serves to demonstrate the need, quality in training, and eagerness to expand its efforts across diverse call codes. 

Community Outreach
On February 27th, CSD presented to City of Cambridge employees about the creation and recent developments within CSD, provided an opportunity to meet the CARE Team, and offer time for attendees to ask any questions.

On March 19th, the Community Safety Department hosted our first community-wide event. In the lecture hall of the Cambridge Public Library, Liz Speakman, Director of the Community Safety Department, along with the CARE Responders and CARE Clinician, provided an overview of the CSD, the goals of our acute crisis response to 9-1-1 calls, and many operational updates. If you weren’t able to attend and have questions for our team, please reach out to us by emailing info@cambridgesafety.org or calling our non-emergency business line at 617-349-7200.

CARE Team Visits Northampton, MA DCC Team
CARE Team Visits Northampton, MA DCC Team <p">The Community Safety Department (CSD) exhibits our growth mindset every day in many different ways. In an effort to continue learning about various crisis response strategies, team building, and service provision to community members, CSD partnered with the Northampton Division of Community Care (DCC) to unite both teams. Together, we discussed protocols for crisis response, ways to engage community members, the importance of self-care in helping professions, how to determine scene safety, toured a new drop-in center site, and completed a workshop based on duties and responsibilities surrounding each vital role within the department. 

CSD Leadership highlighted the ways in which lessons from DCC’s success stories highlight avenues for policy advocacy, community education, and future goals of the department. We thank the Northampton Division of Community Care team for their time, expertise, and looks forward to future opportunities for collaboration.

Partner Spotlight: Government Performance Lab
For nearly a year, the CSD has been working closely with the Government Performance Lab (GPL) at Harvard Kennedy School for technical assistance, policy development, and key performance measures for our outreach efforts and 9-1-1 response.

Two colleagues from GPL came to visit us at the end of March to work with CSD and our public safety colleagues in the Emergency Communications Department and Cambridge Police Department.

Launch Preparation
In preparation for our formal launch of 9-1-1 crisis response later in Spring 2024, the Community Safety Department has worked diligently to finalize policies and protocols for all call types. To build on these learnings, CSD’s employees met with the Cambridge Police Department to review best practices for ensuring scene safety, examine different practices in response, and create connections with our first responder colleagues. Further, CSD met with the Emergency Community Centers’ 911 dispatchers to review call types, learn about the dispatch protocols, and explore best practices when using the radio system to communicate with one another. Finally, CSD has begun its review of Requests for Proposals (RFP) for software, in which the department will work with a company to develop its internal software system when cataloguing calls, subsequent responses, and the attached aftercare. 

Future Expansion
The Community Safety Department is excited to announce that it has posted three new job openings. If you or someone you know has experience or education in mental health aid, a passion for advocating for our vulnerable communities, and are dedicated to supporting folks from 911 calls to after-care, please apply today or sharing the links below:

CARE Responder (2 Openings) | CARE Clinician (1 Opening)

Page was posted on 5/13/2024 12:43 PM
Page was last modified on 5/13/2024 12:51 PM
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