In 2015, recognizing a need to relieve jail overcrowding and identify alternatives to jail for people with mental illnesses, Douglas County, Kan., leaders sought out policy and practice changes that could be put into place that would lead to better outcomes for their residents. The County Board of Commissioners supported the development of a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to enhance collaboration among the various agencies and systems (including other municipal law enforcement agencies) needed to work on this issue. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was awarded a U.S. Department of Justice’s Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program (JMHCP) grant and worked with the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and the University of Kansas to develop the Assist-Identify-Divert (AID) Program.
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