A new position at the Blaine Police Department is changing the way police respond to mental health calls in the City. The mental health coordinator position was developed out of the need for an adaptation in emergency response to include a mental health professional on scene. Over the last year and a half, the Blaine Police Department has been learning first hand how a mental health professional can work together with law enforcement, which was new to Anoka County.
To jump start this idea, Blaine Police Department partnered with Coon Rapids Police Department in 2021 to hire a mental health professional through a grant-funded contract position. Amanda Terwey was hired to identify populations in need within the communities and structure a program to best serve their needs while working alongside law enforcement. Amanda is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, with a master’s degree in social work from Saint Cloud State University.
Co-responding to mental health calls along with officers has been the most pivotal part of this position. Amanda partners with officers and goes to calls to provide on-sce ne assistance and collaboration.
Incorporating a mental health professional in law enforcement response was such a success that Blaine created a full-time position within the department. Amanda started full-time in Blaine in October of 2022. In the first three months of the new full-time position, there have been 362 referrals and 28 on-scene assists.
This position also follows up with individuals to connect them to services and address their individual needs. Amanda is involved with multiple committees and associations related to mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and the unsheltered population. In addition, Amanda works on community education initiatives to increase community awareness of mental illness and reduce the stigma often associated with it.