Community Health Officer

To better serve a growing senior population and respond to an increasing number of mental health-related calls, in early 2019 the Golden Valley Police Department assigned Detective Lance Evans to be its new community health officer. More recently, the GVPD introduced a new tool (see below) to help first responders more safely and successfully resolve situations with vulnerable individuals.

The community health officer position was developed to help people who are going through or struggling with a mental health or chemical dependency issue. That support extends to family members of the person in crisis as they go through their own struggles and also need resources and support.

“Some people who do not have family or a support system end up slipping through the cracks,” says Evans. “They are the ones who concern me, because they have nobody.”

Over the past six months, Evans has been assigned more than 100 cases generated by emergency and non-emergency calls, some of them involving anxiety/depression, schizophrenia, bi-polar, dementia, suicide ideations, and suicide attempt.

“I see a lot of people who struggle with co-occurring disorders,” says Evans, “meaning if they are suffering from anxiety/depression, they use substances to self-medicate to get through the day. That actually makes things worse.”

Once Evans makes contact with someone who needs assistance, he can connect them with multiple service providers throughout the metro area and follow up as requested.

Contact the Golden Valley Police Department at 763-593-8079 to learn more about its Community Health Officer.

The Vitals App

To help first responders communicate in real time with individuals who have various conditions, the GVPD partners with Vitals Aware Services to use its free Vitals App.

Vitals allows an individual or caregiver to create a personalized profile that can be shared with first responders. Profiles can include de-escalation techniques, behavior triggers, emergency contacts, and more.

After creating a profile, each individual will be assigned a beacon that transmits a signal to authorized first responders, like GVPD officers, who are within an 80-foot radius. Officers can use the app to temporarily access critical information on the individual's profile.

Who Should Have Vitals?

Anyone can create a profile through the app, but Vitals and the GVPD recommend a profile be created for:

  • individuals with invisible or visible conditions and disabilities (mental health, developmental, behavioral, and intellectual)
  • senior citizens
  • parents and guardians
  • caregivers

Download

The app is available for apple products and android products.

For more information about the GVPD's community health officer or its involvement with the Vitals App, call 763-593-8079. To learn more about the Vitals App, contact the company by phone at 612-599-7595 or visit its website.