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Bright Side Police & Fire

Atlantic City Police Department Receives American Foundation for Suicide Prevention NJ Chapter’s 2020 Lifesaver Award

Atlantic City, N.J. (Dec. 8, 2020) –The Atlantic City Police Department was presented the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention New Jersey Chapter’s 2020 Lifesaver Award on Tuesday, December 8. 

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention NJ Chapter recognizes the Atlantic City Police Department (ACPD) for their lifesaving efforts and continued commitment to mental health in Atlantic City, NJ.

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, yet many people affected by suicide don’t talk about it, afraid of making others uncomfortable by bringing up the subject.

They may also think there is nothing they can do to prevent it from happening to others, but the research shows us otherwise.

Suicide can be prevented and there are things everyone can do to help stem this tragic loss of life.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention NJ Chapter is enormously grateful for the Atlantic City Police Department and their continuous commitment to mental health and suicide prevention which is why we publicly share our gratitude for their contributions to the cause.

It’s important to remember that there are everyday heroes like the officers of ACPD who dedicate their time and energy to make positive change for Atlantic City.

About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide.

Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

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Bright Side Police & Fire

Atlantic City Police Department & Jewish Family Service Receive Grant to Improve Public Safety and Health Outcomes

(Pictured left to right): Andrea Steinberg, Chief Executive Officer of Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties; Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small, Sr.; Stockton University Criminal Justice Professor Dr. Christine Tartaro; and Atlantic City Police Department Interim Officer in Charge James Sarkos will partner on the $740,576 multi-year grant from the Department of Justice to improve the city’s public safety responses and health outcomes for individuals with mental illness and/or substance abuse. (Photo provided by Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties)

Atlantic City, NJ (November 13, 2020) – The Atlantic City Police Department (ACPD), in collaboration with Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties (JFS), received a $740,576 grant from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to improve public safety responses and health outcomes for individuals with mental illness and/or substance abuse.

Since 2005, the AC Police Department and JFS have closely partnered to deliver justice involved services to people with mental illness. To further expand on the goal of providing services and programs to the city’s homeless population, especially those with mental illness or substance abuse, in 2012, JFS embedded a Case Manager with ACPD to support officers on daytime shifts. To use over a 36-month period, the DOJ grant will build on that program by filling the critical after-hours outreach gap and providing better equipment to officers and social workers so that they can deliver on-site support.

“Stories of police interactions with individuals who have mental illness continue to lead media headlines and this program combines the strengths of both the Atlantic City Police Department and Jewish Family Service to better serve the people of Atlantic City. JFS’ talented and knowledgeable team specialize in de-escalation, mental health treatment and responding in crisis. We are ready to collaborate in this program that will break down barriers and provide real time help to individuals with mental illness during police encounters,” said Andrea Steinberg, Chief Executive Officer of Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties.

In the public safety sphere, last year, the AC Police Department received 714 calls for service specifically involving individuals with mental illness. In addition, statistics show there’s a strong prevalence of co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse amongst Atlantic City’s homeless population. In January 2019, a survey found 357 individuals were experiencing homelessness in Atlantic County. Of them, 162 were individuals with severe mental illness and 115 experiencing substance abuse.

“This federal grant will allow us to better serve those dealing with mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness in Atlantic City,” said Interim Officer in Charge James Sarkos. “Each day, our officers encounter individuals that fall into at least one of these three categories. It is our duty to offer the necessary services that many others already have access to. Our partnership with JFS will allow us to do just that,” he added.

“The goal of my administration is to provide essential services to all of our community members,” said Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small, Sr. “This federal funding will allow the ACPD and JFS to better serve the City of Atlantic City. I applaud the commitment of these two community minded organizations to help those individuals who are in a mental health crisis, and this administration fully supports their efforts,” he added

This innovative program implements real-time interaction between law enforcement and social workers. The multi-year, evidence-based partnership will incorporate nine months for a planning phase in partnership with Stockton University, and 27 months implementing the program. The collaborators will work to enhance the training and social interaction between all parties as well as help to get people out of the system and make productive members of society.

For more information, contact Susan Kotzen (JFS) at skotzen@jfsatlantic.org or Kevin Fair (ACPD) at kfair@acpolice.org.