Last week, EGPD received Mental Health Tool Kit’s from The Mental Health Toolkit with support from Rescate Coffee These tool kits will be in supervisor vehicles and will be utilized when officers are dispatched to calls for service with subjects who may have sensory sensitivities, are non-verbal or may be suffering from developmental disabilities. These Tool Kits provide officers additional tools when handling calls for service and allow us to provide the highest level of service to our community! #bettertogether #egpd
Recently, Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig introduced and partnered with Yolo County first responders to implement Vitals™ (www.thevitalsapp.com). Vitals™ offers an invaluable resource to first responders by providing critical information about an individual’s specific needs and conditions in real-time enabling safer interactions and positive outcomes.In conjunction with Vitals™, Winters Police Department is seeking to equip every Winters Police Department patrol vehicle and Winters Fire Department engine with a “Mental Health Toolkit” backpack to assist us in responding to persons with autism or other mental health issues. The backpack was created by Nick Rammer, a behavior analyst in the Sacramento area that works directly with kids effected by autism and mental health. Each backpack contains tools such as visuals, communication boards, stress relief items, distractors, and much more.
Twin Rivers Police Services recently received 20 mental health backpacks for each of its department’s patrol cars. Nick Rammer, a behavior analyst in Northern CA, distributed the backpacks, which contain toolkits to support officers when dealing with calls for mental health situations. “This is a great toolkit and resource to help our officers to bridge the gap while deescalating situations should one of our students experience a mental health crisis,” says David Lugo, TRPD Chief of Police. Each toolkit contains items such as stuffed animals, glow sticks, white boards, headphones and other tools to help facilitate a smooth and positive interaction between an officer and a student. In addition to the backpacks, virtual and in-person trainings are offered to officers based on their department’s needs. So far, Rammer has distributed 75 backpacks to over 30 departments across the country.
While your FPD is busy supporting local communities with handing out backpacks to support the kiddos preparing to start school, we received TWO backpacks of our own thanks to the generous donation of Dave McDowell! A little over a month ago, Nick Rammer reached out to FPD providing an opportunity to expand our training on how we can provide better support to members of our community who may have unique needs. Through your shares of the original post, Nick has received more support and donations to provide this Mental Health Toolkit to other first responders wanting to expand their knowledge and provide better resources to the communities they serve. Our Command Staff was impressed with this idea and are excited to deploy these backpacks out into the field.
Every day your Fairfield officers are presented with unique opportunities to assist and learn from our community. One of the ways we grow as an agency is through more training and education on how we can better serve. Thanks to Nick Rammer, we were provided with another opportunity. Nick is a board certified behavior analyst who works with youth with mental health challenges and autism. Through his work, Nick sees the difference in the way youth respond to certain stimuli and interactions, compared to that of how a normal functioning person might respond. Through this interaction, he was inspired to put together a toolkit that supports these special needs with items such as visuals, fidgets, communication boards, stress relief items, distractors, and other calming tools. When the backpack is supplied, he provides training on how to use the enclosed tools. Nick reached out to your FPD and offered a donation of one of these toolkits. What is it? This toolkit was designed for individuals with autism and mental health needs. These toolkits are provided to first responders who may encounter people in various situations and can serve as a communication tool between the first responder and the person in need. What’s in it? 1. Chair People with mental health disorders can often be OCD about sitting on the ground if it is wet or dirty. This allows a place for them to sit in those situations to avoid that. Yes, the chair will hold an adult. 2. Water & Candy Both of these items help build rapport with the person being contacted. People with mental health disorders, especially juveniles will comply when given demand with the reward of edible items. 3. Stuffed Animal Stuffed animals help in two ways. They help build rapport with the person you are contacting and provides comfort to someone in a traumatic situation. 4. Glow Sticks These items are distractors. If the person is yelling and screaming, but are not overly aggressive, breaking the glow stick will catch their attention and they will want to hold it. 5. Communication Board / White Board These work with non-verbal or selective mute persons. The communication board provided basic commands paired with a picture to help the person process the request. The white board allows them to respond without talking. 6. Headphones / Chew Necklace These are sensory items. Often times, people with mental health disorders are affected by being overloaded with sensor stimulation. The headphones provide a quiet space and pressure to the head. The necklace allows them to bite down on something other than you. 7. First Responder Notebook This has great information pertaining to missing persons with autism. It is encouraged that this be shared with dispatch and call takers, as a lot of this information can be gathered from first phone contact.It is through innovators like Nick where we can learn more about bettering our response, communication and bridging the gap between first responders and the commUNITY we serve.
“This is a great toolkit and resource to help our officers to bridge the gap while deescalating situations should one of our students experience a mental health crisis.”