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Harris County uses technology to modernize law enforcement’s role in crisis intervention

Harris County Police Department

Harris County, TX

Harris County police department's partnership with non-profit, Harris Center for Mental Health and Intellectual or developmental disability demonstrates a strategic approach to law enforcement’s role in crisis intervention. 4G tech enables telecommunication between officers and the center in mental health crises.

Topics Covered

Law Enforcement and Emergency Response


Initial: Zero Upfront Cost


General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2017

Gov Champion

Harris County Sheriff's Office

Problem Addressed

To provide ample mental health care in emergency situations, the sheriff's office needed a more integrated approach.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office has worked with the Harris Center for Mental Health and Intellectual and Development Disability to ensure public safety in the face of mental health crises. The partnership connects officers with specialized mental health resources and trainings in order to produce better outcomes in the lives of people with mental illness.

Despite having 2,400 employees operating across 86 care locations, the Harris Center can't be everywhere at once to assist officers in emergency situations with specialized resources and training. A strategic approach to the law enforcement role in crisis intervention is essential.

"We needed a partner who could think flexibly and be agile with us as we tried to innovate and solve problems through a different way of thinking," said Wayne Young, Chief Executive Officer of The Harris Center for Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disability.

Solutions Used

The Office and Harris Center now operate through reliable mobile tablets to connect an officer with a mental health professional in times of need.

In 2017, Harris County Sheriff's Office and the Harris Center teamed up for the Clinician and Office Remote Evaluation (CORE) Program. The program connects a patrol deputy in the field with a clinician from The Harris Center via a computer tablet in the case of a behavioral crisis.

With the Verizon Frontline team, the crisis intervention team now operates through reliable mobile tablets, real-time connectivity and secure lines of communication that keep sensitive data safe while helping to ensure a personal, human connection. This collaborative public safety, mental health and technology partnership utilizes 4G LTE Apple iPads 9.7 powered by Verizon, Apple business manager, MobileIron silver license, security and device management overlay, and virtual collaboration.

“Almost 30% of our services are delivered where people live, work and go to school, so it’s a pretty mobile workforce. [It’s] of great value to us knowing that our partner is behind the scenes taking care of the things that need to be taken care of so that for our workforce it’s seamless, it’s reliable and it’s scalable," says Wayne Young.

This agile solution helps to improve experiences with law enforcement for the nearly 900,000 adults in Harris County who are vulnerable to mental illness, and its components can be scalable to allow first responders to assist communities around the world.



CORE program has leveraged to support thousands of constituents in Harris County, by delivering essential resources for people in the community


73% of deputies report that the combination of a clinician and technical solution helped de-escalate a situation


Transformed law enforcement role in crisis intervention for the county with an emphasis on telepsychiatry in the field


Nearly half of the individuals who spoke to a mental health professional were encountering the Harris Center for the first time, bringing more attention to mental health

Who Should Consider

Police departments looking to de-escalate behavioral crises and address mental health in the field via telecommunications.

Last Updated

Mar 23rd, 2022

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