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Co-responder Model

What is the Co-responder model?

The Co-responder model is one of the two primary response models (the other being the CIT model, click CIT under the solutions tab for more information regarding CIT training and its benefits) used by law enforcement in encountering individuals with mental illness. This model partners mental health professionals with law enforcement at the scene of a mental health crisis to “provide consultation on mental health-related issues and assist individuals in accessing treatments and supports.”1


Effectiveness of the Co-responder model:

A study of the Memphis, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama police departments examined the two specialized police-based programs – CIT and Co-responder. In the Memphis police department, which has a CIT program, the arrest rate of persons with mental illness was 2%, while in the Birmingham police department, where a Co-responder model is used, the arrest rate of persons with mental illness was 13%. For reference, an earlier study noted that the arrest rate for people with mental illnesses was 16% in a different community without a specialized police program.2 Thus, a Co-responder model may slightly decrease the arrest rate of persons with mental illness; however, the CIT model creates a much more significant decrease and has more studies demonstrating its benefits. Since both models involve a similar level of effort, departments should probably focus on implementing or improving a CIT program.

1. Reuland, Melissa, et al. “Law Enforcement Responses to People with Mental Illnesses: A Guide to Research-Informed Policy and Practice.” CSG Justice Center, 9 Feb. 2020,

2. Ibid.


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