2 DeKalb County police departments team up on new program to help with mental health crisis calls

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Two DeKalb County law enforcement agencies are stepping up to help be a part of a co-responder program.

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The Dunwoody Police Department and Doraville Police Department have joined forces to partner on a new co-responder program that will supply officers with expertise and support when responding to calls involving a mental health crisis.

Both departments have a new contract with the DeKalb Community Service Board that will provide services by licensed Behavioral Health Clinician, Gregory Lazzara. He started his role in late April.

“This program gives our officers access to an expert to help recognize and de-escalate situations while also providing important resources,” said Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan. “We look forward to this important partnership with Doraville Police.”

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With the new contract, DeKalb CSB will donate $33,400 to go toward the first year’s cost, and $16,600 will go toward the cost for the second year. The City of Dunwoody will contribute $81,020 for the first year. The cost was split up based on the city’s population.

“Our partnership with Dunwoody Police enables us to provide a greater level of service and support to our community,” said Police Chief Chuck Atkinson.”

“The co-responder will assist officers in the field and improve the quality of life for our community as a whole,” added Mayor Lynn Deutsch. “This contract with the DeKalb CSB is a vital step in ensuring the safety and well-being of our community.”

The Dunwoody Police Department created a similar program in 2022 through a contract with View Point Health, which struggled due to a lack of staffing. Dunwoody City Council approved American Rescue Plan funding to help cover the cost of the program.

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