TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced today that the Alternative Responses to Reduce Instances of Violence and Escalation (ARRIVE) Together program is now operational in all 21 New Jersey counties, a milestone reached just as the program marks its two-year anniversary.
Governor Phil Murphy joined Attorney General Platkin and law enforcement, mental health professionals, and community leaders from across New Jersey today in Trenton to mark the anniversary and to hear from ARRIVE team members about the ways the program has changed how law enforcement responds to emergency calls that have a mental health component.
“Together, we have worked across agencies and across fields of expertise to pioneer a new model for public safety – one that ensures that our most vulnerable residents get the help they need when they need it while also preventing members of law enforcement from being overextended and overwhelmed,” said Governor Murphy. “At a time when leaders across America are grappling with fundamental questions about the future of our justice system, here in New Jersey, we have illuminated a path forward that other states would be wise to follow. With the ARRIVE Together program, we have proven that we do not have to accept any trade-offs when it comes to protecting the safety and well-being of our residents.”
“ARRIVE Together has transformed the way New Jersey responds when our residents are experiencing mental health emergencies,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Partnerships between law enforcement, mental health providers, and community leaders across our state have made ARRIVE possible. With the ongoing support of Governor Murphy and the Legislature, New Jerseyans now have access to much-needed mental health services in every county in our state. ARRIVE’s presence in all 21 counties means New Jersey is the first state in the nation to offer a statewide alternative response program.”
ARRIVE began in December 2021 as a co-response program with the New Jersey State Police in Cumberland County in partnership with the Cumberland County Guidance Center. The program paired a plainclothes 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.
With its statewide expansion, ARRIVE is now in every county and is serving over one-third of New Jersey’s population.
“As we celebrate the remarkable two-year milestone of the ARRIVE Together program, I want to thank Governor Murphy and Attorney General Platkin for their unwavering support for this transformative initiative. ARRIVE has become a beacon of progress, uniting law enforcement, mental health professionals, and community leaders to redefine how we approach mental health,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “With the help of this program, we’ve forged a stronger path towards compassionate, effective law enforcement responses to mental health crises, exemplifying the power of collaboration in creating safer and more empathetic communities for all. This achievement reaffirms the New Jersey State Police’s commitment to a future where every call for help receives the understanding and support it deserves.”
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.
The City of Paterson recently launched a three-pronged pilot model. When Paterson police officers interact with individuals who would benefit from mental health resources and supports, they will refer them to non-profit healthcare provider CBH Care. Clinicians from CBH Care will follow-up with the individual, without law enforcement, to ensure residents receive mental health and other support services. Also in Paterson, New Jersey Transit Police and CBH Care will conduct affirmative outreach at the Paterson Bus Terminal and provide mental health resources and supports to those in the bus terminal who need them. Finally, a clinician from CBH Care will work with emergency dispatchers in Paterson to share best practices and gather information with the hope of developing a mental health-only alternative response program for calls coming through the 911 system.
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 in a few instances when involuntarily transporting individuals to medical treatment at the direction of a mental health screener or as required by law. ARRIVE has increased community utilization of mental health services and is reducing racial disparities across outcomes.
Mental health providers and law enforcement agencies from around the State have signed on to support ARRIVE to divert individuals experiencing mental and behavioral health emergencies away from the criminal justice system and toward resources and supports in their community.
So far, ARRIVE has reported over 2,000 interactions statewide.
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 the program 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/