Madison CARES Team announces expansion to serve west, south side
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The group of workers responding to mental health 911 calls in Madison is growing, city officials announced Tuesday.
The Community Alternative Response Emergency Services program, also knows as CARES, will expand from one team to two. The City of Madison explained that the new team will be located at a second location, at 2120 Fish Hatchery Road, to respond to calls on the west and south side.
Both teams are expected to be in full-service with expanded hours, Monday through Friday, starting July 25.
Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway said she was excited to announce the enhanced access.
“Staffing a second CARES unit at this new location will increase our capacity to more rapidly respond to behavioral health emergencies in our community,” Rhodes Conway said.
City officials explained that the second team was soft-launched at the end of April and has responded to 28% of the total calls that have happened since that time.
CARES responders go to non-violent, behavioral-health related emergencies as an alternative to police officers. Patients can also be treated or referred to differed services in the community, if needed.
So far, the teams have responded to 674 calls. The length of these calls average about 60 minutes each.
“Communities around Wisconsin are finding innovative ways to respond more effectively when people are in crisis,” Attorney General Josh Kaul said. “Programs like Madison’s CARES program help connect people in crisis to the services they need, while freeing up additional law enforcement resources to fight crime and protect public safety.”
The City of Madison added that mental health emergencies that involve violence or have the potential to be violent still receive a response from Madison Police Department officers, who are all trained in mental health and crisis intervention.
If you or someone you know needs the CARES team, call 911 and ask for them to be dispatched.
Copyright 2022 WMTV. All rights reserved.