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DECATUR, Ala. – The Decatur Police Department is searching to fill a new position in its department, a Mental Health Liaison.

This is a civilian job and the person who fills it will not be a sworn-in police officer.

Decatur Police Chief, Nate Allen, said police respond to mental health calls daily and they’ve seen an increase during the pandemic.

“They’ll be hired on to first develop a curriculum for training, develop a partnership with our mental health service providers throughout the city, provide training to officers on how to deal with mental health patients,” said Chief Allen.

This is a full-time position with a salary ranging from $47,729-$72,625. A master’s degree is required, as well as three years of experience in the mental health field.

Chief Allen said eventually the liaison would be responding to non-emergency, non-violent mental health calls.

“We would hope that when the call comes in the dispatcher can determine it’s a mental health call and maybe send the mental health liaison backed up by a police officer,” he said.

Chief Allen said this year there have been 12 homicides in the City of Decatur. Out of those 12; four were domestic related, 4 robberies, 2 fights, 1 stalking case, and 1 accidental.

“Out of the 12 homicides we’ve had year-to-date were looking at 95% of those homicides as being related to some type of mental health crisis,” he said.

Allen said the department can work to help prevent homicides if they know the person is dealing with a mental health crisis and can intervene early.