LITTLE ROCK, Ark- The Little Rock Police Department received a $500,000 grant from the Federal Bureau of Justice to address mental health concerns in the area.

They’ve partnered with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) to spearhead a new crisis response team that will help combat the impacts of mental illness.

The grant will expand the LRPD’s current Community Response Team by providing for the hiring of additional social workers and mental health counselors to serve on the team.  

Team members will be trained to effectively recognize and respond to a mental health crisis.

“The effects of mental illness are having a tremendous impact on the communities in which we police. As the incidents stemming from mental health issues continue to surge, our efforts to serve and protect must evolve and adapt,” Little Rock Police Chief Heath Helton said.

Chief Helton said that he is excited about the results of the new program.