Announcement includes countywide expansion of ARRIVE and key partnership with Kean University
UNION TOWNSHIP – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin joined elected leaders, law enforcement executives, mental health professionals, community leaders, and higher education administrators from across Union County today to announce the expansion of the Alternative Responses to Reduce Instances of Violence and Escalation (ARRIVE) Together program to all twenty-one of Union County’s municipalities and in partnership with all twenty-five of its law enforcement agencies, including the first implementation of ARRIVE on a university campus.
ARRIVE began as a co-response program with the New Jersey State Police in Cumberland County in December 2021 in partnership with the Cumberland County Guidance Center. The program paired a plain clothed New Jersey state trooper with a mental health screener in an unmarked vehicle to respond to 911 calls relating to mental and behavioral health emergencies. In June of 2022, in partnership with Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Linden and Elizabeth became the first municipal departments to launch ARRIVE.
Today, ARRIVE includes several models operating across the State, with the model used in each community tailored to each community’s unique needs, resources, and priorities. Models range from the co-response model to follow-up outreach, where law enforcement identify individuals they have engaged, and mental health providers respond without law enforcement to ensure residents have access to mental health and other support services. In addition, a telehealth model in Atlantic City provides law enforcement officers with electronic tablets to provide individuals experiencing mental health emergencies with real-time telehealth services from mental health professionals.
ARRIVE is currently available to residents in all of Union County’s twenty-one municipalities. In addition, Kean University has become the first college or university in New Jersey to partner with ARRIVE by using its on-campus police and mental health services to offer additional supports to its campus community.
In the coming weeks, Union County will become the first ARRIVE program to offer a mental health-only ARRIVE response. In this model, certain calls identified through the 911 call center, managed by Union County Police, will receive a mental health-only response.
“Union County’s 21 municipalities and 25 law enforcement agencies have embraced innovation in policing and in how we respond to those experiencing mental health emergencies. Their commitment to the ARRIVE program and its goals, combined with Kean University’s participation, is a milestone in the program and a positive sign for ARRIVE’s continued growth,” said Attorney General Platkin. “My thanks to Union County’s municipal and county law enforcement leaders, elected officials, community leaders, and the leadership of Kean University for recognizing the value of this transformative program. We continue to be grateful to Governor Murphy and the Legislature for their support of this important public safety program.”
Since its inception in 2021, ARRIVE has demonstrated its value as a means of aiding New Jerseyans coping with mental and behavioral health emergencies by taking a clinical approach to responding to residents, rather than a punitive one. As noted in a March 2023 report by The Brookings Institution, ARRIVE responses have not resulted in arrests, injuries, or uses of force, except when transporting individuals to medical treatment. ARRIVE has increased community utilization of mental health services and is reducing racial disparities across outcomes.
Health care providers from around the state have signed on to support ARRIVE in order to divert individuals experiencing mental and behavioral health emergencies away from the criminal justice system and toward resources and support in their community.
So far, ARRIVE has reported over 1,400 interactions statewide, including over 420 interactions in Union County, with individuals experiencing mental and behavior health emergencies across New Jersey.
Currently, ARRIVE operates in thirteen counties and is on track to operate in all twenty-one New Jersey counties by the end of this year.
“ARRIVE Together has proven to be an effective collaboration between law enforcement and mental health professionals,” said Senate President Nick Scutari. “It allows them to respond to crisis situations by de-escalating conflicts, protecting the safety of everyone involved, and providing behavioral health assistance for those in need. This is a smart and resourceful program that will now be expanded in Union County so it can help more people in more communities.”
“RWJBarnabas Health is proud to once again be a part of this collaborative effort of delivering screening and supportive behavioral health care in partnership with law enforcement officers in order to facilitate safer and more compassionate care to the communities we serve together,” said Frank Ghinassi, Senior Vice President of Behavioral Health Services at RWJBarnabas Health and President and CEO of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care. “Trinitas Regional Medical Center was the first of our RWJBarnabas Health facilities to participate in the ARRIVE Together program in parts of Union County, and today we celebrate the launch of this program now expanding throughout the county, including on the campus of Kean University.”
“The latest expansion of Union County’s ARRIVE Together initiative is a significant step forward for both public safety and mental health,” said Union County Prosecutor William Daniel. “This program is one of the most important initiatives we have ever brought to our community and, along with other programs aimed at assisting individuals with mental health concerns and special needs, will ensure that all Union County residents and their families are served with respect and dignity, while at the same time enhancing public safety.”
“Kean University is proud to be the first university in the state to join this innovative partnership, which responds to mental health emergencies with the resources best-prepared to handle them,” said Kean University President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “Wellness is a core value at Kean, and ARRIVE Together will add to our campus well-being initiatives while also providing an opportunity for the university to support the county’s efforts. We look forward to working with Attorney General Platkin and our partners in Union County on this program that will undoubtedly make a real difference in the lives of many people.”
“The Union County Police Chiefs’ Association (UCPCA) is proud to be part of this momentous occasion,” said Elizabeth Police Department Chief Giacomo Sacca, President of the Union County Police Chief’s Association. “The countywide program of ARRIVE Together is the epitome of public and private partnerships to create safer environments for everyone.”
“The families who utilize our support services at the Mental Health Association in NJ are thrilled to learn about the expansion of ARRIVE Together in all 21 municipalities in Union County,” said Joyce Benz, Program Director of the Union County Intensive Family Support Services. “Several have already utilized the program, and have found it to be a more proactive and less stigmatizing option, a new tool in the toolbox for families and individuals to get the help that they need to prevent the escalation of a mental health crisis.”
“‘Stepping Up to Mental Health’ is an initiative that has been at the forefront of my 2023 Chairman’s ‘Building a Stronger Union County’ theme, and the ARRIVE Together Program goes hand-in-hand,” said Union County Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados. “Our team worked closely with our county law enforcement partners to expand to all twenty-one municipalities, including the first educational institution in the state, Kean University. In Union County, we are committed to ensuring that all residents and law enforcement agencies are equipped with the essential personnel and tools for safe and effective interactions. I look forward to seeing the further success of this program.”
The Office of the Attorney General is grateful for the incredible support this program has received from Governor Murphy and the Legislature, which included a $10 million appropriation for the program in the fiscal year 2024 budget. Those funds support ARRIVE as it grows. As we expand, ARRIVE is exploring additional models and locations to make ARRIVE available to more residents throughout the state.
To learn more about the ARRIVE program and the current models operating across the state, please visit https://www.njoag.gov/programs/arrive-together/.