SAFE (Specialized Assistance for Everyone)

Cotati and Rohnert Park have partnered to start a mobile mental health crisis response team for our cities. This team, referred to as “SAFE”, is expected to start service the first week of November and can be accessed by calling 9-1-1. The SAFE team, modeled after the successful Cahoots program in Eugene, OR, consists of a medic (nurse, paramedic, or Emergency Medical Technician) and a crisis worker.

Services provided by SAFE include responding to people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, in need of treatment for mental illness, or who need shelter by providing counseling and transportation to the appropriate location. The team will also address minor medical complaints that do not require emergency room care. Left untreated, some of these medical conditions can become severe. The SAFE team will also be supported by a Coordinator, who will manage referrals to the various social and mental health programs in Sonoma County. The program will start up at twelve hours per day, seven days a week, and will build toward eighteen to twenty hours/day. It is estimated that the team will respond to about 3,500 calls each year.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Calls for service involving mental health, addiction, and homelessness account for a significant number of calls our police department responds to annually. Through the SAFE program, these calls are responded to by a team with the tools, resources, and knowledge to address the unique needs of community members more effectively. In partnering with the Petaluma Peoples Services Center (PPSC), the City is able to leverage existing behavioral health programs and ensure a seamless referral to an established continuum of care.

The SAFE team provides 3 main services to the community:

Emergency response for issues relating to mental health, addiction, and homelessness
Non-emergency response for people in need
Proactive community outreach
SAFE team members are accompanied by police officers to calls for service only if a person is armed, believed to be in danger of causing harm to themselves or others, or if emergency medical care is needed. The SAFE team does not provide emergency medical care or perform involuntary mental health detention.

The team works proactively to address low level issues and provides preventative outreach to help ensure individuals don’t end up needing a higher level of care. This program is intended to benefit all of public safety by keeping police officers, firefighters, and paramedics available for appropriate emergencies.

Learn more HERE.
HOW CAN I REACH the SAFE TEAM?

Individuals may access SAFE services as follows:

Call 9-1-1 – an emergency dispatcher will answer and determine if your situation requires the SAFE team, first responders such as police, fire, or paramedics, or a combination of both.

To contact PPSC or to find out more about the program, email SAFE@petalumapeople.org