Duluth Hiring Registered Nurse To Help Police During Mental Health And Substance Abuse Calls

The RN will help with calls, evaluations, and interventions, while also following up on cases of those who may need help.
Duluth Police

DULUTH, Minn. — On Monday night, the Duluth city council voted unanimously to add a registered nurse position with the Duluth Police Department that will help with mental health and substance abuse calls.

The job calls for a registered nurse from the Human Development Center, a nonprofit, who will embed themselves within the department.

The department first launched its mental health unit back in 2018.

Since then, it has expanded through the years as an extra layer to help deescalate certain situations and connect people to different resources.

“Which is good for the community. It’s good for the person we can help stabilize and it’s actually good for our patrol officers too,” Duluth Police Sargent, Kelly Greenwalt says.

Officials say they’ve seen a 31% drop in calls for service since adding the mental health unit.

They hope adding an RN to the force will continue that trend, especially by introducing resources to those who may not know they can have access to them, such as the homeless population.

Some of those resources include access to medical professionals, treatment providers and parole and probation officers.

The registered nurse will also follow up on the cases of people who may need treatment, to encourage them to get it.

“Mental health, it’s hard. It’s hard with traditional services the way it’s set up,” Duluth P.D Mental Health Unit RN, Marissa Leonzal says. “Even with the folks I was treating at the ACT team. Having that assertive treatment, coming to them in the community still was proven difficult for a lot of clients to be able to follow through with the directives with the professionals that are treating them.”

The three-year pilot program is worth $100,000.


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