The Bridge Program
New Mental Health Support for UD Residents from UDPD

The Bridge provides quick and appropriate mental health support for our residents in Upper Dublin, separating mental health calls from criminal complaints to the UD Police.

The idea behind The Bridge emanated from an article my wife emailed me about an organization called CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) in Eugene, OR. Since the 1970s, CAHOOTS has been working in coordination with their local police department where calls to 911 that deal with mental health crisis emergencies are sent directly to the CAHOOTS team instead of the police. The CAHOOTS team is made up of EMT and Mental Health professionals capable of handling residents suffering from a mental health crisis. I called CAHOOTS headquarters to learn about their program. They said there are versions of the program in many municipalities across the country, each in a configuration that fits their community. Some programs are part of the police department, some are independent, and some are a combination of services. I called around the country and talked to municipalities in many states to find out how they were handling mental heath crisis emergencies. Each employed the CAHOOTS model tailored to their community.

I took this information and contacted the Montgomery County Mobile Crisis Unit (MCMCU) to see if there was a similar program in Montgomery County where cooperation between township police departments and the Mobile Crisis Unit existed. I was told there were some townships that had an arrangement while others had not done so. After talking with UD Police Chief Wheatley, where we discussed the merits of a similar program for Upper Dublin, I arranged for a 3-way phone conference in 2021 between the MCMCU, Chief Wheatley, and myself to explore the possibilities of these two services working together. The result was The Bridge.

Chief Wheatley and his department did a commendable job in fleshing out The Bridge providing a workable structure that will ensure the program's success in our community. This program will have the UDPD and MCMCU workers working collaboratively supporting residents of UD who need mental health crisis services in a timely and appropriate manner. The Bridge program in the two years it has been in operation has already proved to be of great benefit to our community.

Upper Dublin Police Community Resources Unit (CRU) provides two crisis services for residents of Upper Dublin: The Bridge and The HUB. These two programs are described in the links below.

The Bridge Program

The HUB Program