City police gets funding for mental health clinician

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OSWEGO COUNTY — The Oswego Police Department will add a mental health clinician, thanks to $100,000 secured by State Sen. John Mannion and $75,000 provided by the Richard S. Shineman Foundation.

Mayor Billy Barlow has said that embedding a mental health clinician within the department is an innovative approach to addressing mental health and substance abuse disorders in the community. During crisis situations, having a mental health clinician available will reduce the need for emergency hospitalizations and for law enforcement officers to get involved, Barlow said Thursday in a news release.

“The embedded clinician will respond on-scene to assist our officers and provide crisis intervention, while also analyzing police department data related to calls for service, incident reports, arrests, and mental hygiene transports to help proactively follow-up and assist individuals within our community,” Barlow said.

Phil Cady, Oswego chief of police, said mental health calls for the department are up 51% over the past few years.

“It will be good to have somebody on staff with us here,” Cady said. “There’ll be some growing pains, but I think it’s going to be a huge win for the department and the city and the community.”