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Bernalillo County, New Mexico: Mobile Crisis Teams


  • City: Bernalillo County, NM (includes Albuquerque)
  • Population Size: 679,121
  • Jurisdiction Size: 1,160.83 sq miles


  • 0 – MCT/Peer-based community outreach teams, MCT
  • 1 – EMCT

CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) Requirements

  • All Albuquerque Police Department (APD) Officers are CIT trained- DOJ came in 2015 due to an incident so they have a consent decree requiring improvement in interaction with MH population (including 100% CIT trained officers)
  • Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) also has CIT officers and an active Crisis Intervention Unit

Model Components

  • Area of Jurisdiction
    • Bernalillo County (including children, adolescents and adults)
  • Staffing Structure
    • Law enforcement MCT – CIT Officer and independently licensed clinician- ride in same vehicle
    • Non-law enforcement MCT – independently licensed clinician with Fire Department paramedic (nationally registered)
    • Officers are assigned to MCT randomly and reevaluated based on team dynamic
    • Have peer-based community engagement teams – intended to intervene pre- and post- crisis.
    • MCT’s are active during peak Behavioral Health times calls as determined by 911 APD and BCSO data. Times are assessed every 6 months.
  • Staff Training/Qualifications
    • MCT Officer is CIT (40 hours) and ECIT (8 hours) trained
  • Dispatch Structure
    • Direct dispatch + calls from officers currently on scene
    • Call takers get 20-hour ECIT training
    • Dispatchers learn to differentiate calls for MCT/CET
    • Non-law enforcement MCT is not a primary response – first responders on the scene must request them

Operating Structure

    • Operations
      • Respond to priority 1 and 2 calls
      • Respond via a scene request (non-law enforcement MCT)
      • 20 minutes or less response time Law enforcement MCT can do involuntary transport, Non-law enforcement cannot do involuntary but do voluntary transports
      • Have a lot of community involvement- have a subcommittee for this project- they have an advisory committee that came up with this project
    • Funding Mechanisms
      • $1 Million a year- covers the cost of clinicians, deputies, and paramedics
      • (BH Tax Fund) City tax money goes towards this-$22.5 million per year generated (City/county funded)
    • MOU/Contracting
      • MOU with FD/ BCSO and COA
    • Management Structure
      • Managed by County department of BH Services, City of Albuquerque Community Safety Department
    • Supplies/Equipment
      • Non-law enforcement- Fleet vehicle- marked
      • Non-law enforcement Non-traditional fire Polo shirt (Fire employees)
      • All wear under the clothing bullet proof vests
      • Clinicians have bold letters “Clinicians” on back
      • Officers wear dress-down uniforms

Data Systems & Collection

  • Data Collection:
    • Contracted to develop a data base (sent us a screenshot of database to show fields)
    • Had difficulty matching BH/law enforcement data- are now using a call ID number to match them
  • Data Collection:
    • Monthly reports from county and city dispatch

Key Takeaways

  • So much/ongoing community engagement – it is a community-led initiative

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