HEAT ALERT

Extreme heat blankets the region; heat advisory, air quality alert issued for the Hudson Valley

Mount Vernon police launch Wellness Division

Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Lackard said the division is aimed at intercepting people who need services instead of handcuffs.

Nadia Galindo

Apr 26, 2022, 7:24 PM

Updated 785 days ago

Share:

A first-of-its-kind police reform initiative in the Hudson Valley is diverting vulnerable populations from the prison system.
The Mount Vernon Police Department launched the Wellness Division in March.
Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Lackard said the division is aimed at intercepting people who need services instead of handcuffs.
"A lot of the people we encounter are in a mental health crisis some are combatant some are really aggressive, and some are not,” she said. “Some are frequent flyers because they don't have supports.”
Trained officers and clinicians will now respond alongside Mount Vernon police to calls involving people in crisis.
The goal is to help de-escalate situations and connect individuals with wrap around support services.
It's a holistic approach targeting the elderly, those with mental health issues, veterans and the homeless.
"It's the department saying we see a benefit to this we want to help, how can we be a part of that solution making process," said Lackard.
The division is also focused on teens, especially in the wake of the deadly stabbing of Mount Vernon High school student Kayla Green.
The Wellness Division just launched a pilot program at Mount Vernon High School that will run through the end of this year.
They are partnering with agencies like Cluster Community Services and the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center that already have programs inside the school.
"If it has not been made clear, our young people are hurting they are hurting in ways we have not paid attention to for quite some time," said Tajae Gaynor, Cluster Community Services.
The Wellness Precinct headquarters is located at 203 Gramatan Ave..
If you or someone you know is in crisis in Mount Vernon call the Wellness Precinct at 914-465-2765.


More from News 12