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Devereux FL partners with sheriff’s office to place clinician in communications center


Jennifer Falco

Devereux Florida Clinician Jennifer Falco, LCSW, who was placed within the Orange County Sheriff’s Office communications center in January, handles 911 calls related to mental health or substance use crises.

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Florida recently partnered with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) to place a trained clinician within the sheriff’s office communications center.

The full-time clinician handles 911 calls related to mental health or substance use crises to ensure each call is assessed with care and professionalism.

“We are excited to collaborate with the sheriff’s office on this new initiative to provide support to those in our community who are experiencing emotional distress,” said Devereux Florida Executive Director Lisa Kroger, LMSW. “Our clinician offers resources and referrals, connecting 911 callers with healthcare professionals and valuable information – giving them the help they need, when they need it.”

In an OCSO video discussing the partnership, Sgt. Jason Gorberg noted, “When a 911 call comes in, if the 911 operator determines the call is better suited for our clinician, they will send it to her. … With the implementation of this program, it’s one more step toward increasing our ability to make sure the citizens of Orange County not only get help from law enforcement, but also the resources needed to address mental health and substance abuse issues.”

Communications center training

Before being placed in the sheriff’s office communications center in January, Devereux Florida Clinician Jennifer Falco, LCSW, underwent intensive training.

“I immersed myself in the call taker world,” Falco explained. “I participated in 911 academy training classes to learn the dispatch signals and familiarize myself with the ‘language,’ and I shadowed call takers and dispatches to learn about their system processes. I obtained Criminal Justice Information Services Security and Privacy Training certification and participated in ‘ride-alongs’ with the Behavioral Response Unit. My prior experience working in crisis intervention with our Mobile Crisis Services team also helped me prepare for my new role.”

Supporting families in need

Falco says she uses her knowledge and expertise to build rapport with callers, providing guidance to families in need.

“My presence among the 911 call takers and dispatchers is important because I am easily accessible to people experiencing mental health or substance use-related crises,” Falco said. “Calling 911 is only the tip of the iceberg for these individuals. I’m able to dig deeper and find long-term solutions for them. I can triage calls to national and local community crisis response teams and hotlines. In addition, I work in a supportive capacity to the call takers and dispatchers, consulting with them if requested and providing a listening ear if needed. I offer them mental health training on topics, such as de-escalation, establishing rapport and stress management to further promote their ability to handle mental health-related calls. It truly takes a village, and I am so proud to be part of this collaborative effort.”

Learn more about Devereux Florida, and learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.


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