Minneapolis city leaders want ‘more data’ on behavioral health crisis teams

Mayor Frey wants ‘more data’ on behavioral health crisis teams

Mayor Frey wants 'more data' on behavioral health crisis teams

The city of Minneapolis has entered a legal settlement with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights that outlines overhauls and major changes in the way the police department will operate in the coming years.

Part of that settlement includes a requirement to provide adequate funding for behavioral health crisis response teams (BCR), which provide help to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis and also alleviate some of the work currently being handled by the Minneapolis Police Department.

Last week the city’s Office of Performance, Management and Innovation (PMI) updated the Minneapolis City Council on progress made in 2022 with a pilot project that provides BCR assistance to people in mental health crises.

The director of PMI told the council’s Public Safety Committee that the BCR teams responded to more than 7,600 mental health calls and averaged 140 responses each week during the last quarter of 2022.  But the PMI report did not include any additional data about demographics of the people they responded to, nor did it clarify what happens when a BCR team could not respond to a call other than say it was referred back to police.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the city will need future data to contain more specific details to determine the program’s success.

“We need it to the extent where we can get more data about the result of the mental health call: What happened to that particular individual? Did they get wrap-around services? You know, what are the demographics?” Frey said. “Yes, those would all be important facets in determining how we move forward.”

Frey also said, “No question, yes” when asked if he would like to know how many BCR calls were referred back to police.

City Council Public Safety Committee Chair LaTrisha Vetaw says she supports the BCR concept but would also like to see more data to better manage the program.

“I know that whatever support I need to provide at the council level, I am willing to give it because this is a big part of the settlement agreement. It’s a really big part of it,” Vetaw said.