Award: Crisis Intervention Response Unit

February 20, 2019

Innovations in American Government Awards

  • AWARD WON: 2018 Finalist
  • AWARDEE: Crisis Intervention Response Unit
  • DESIGNEE: City of Denver, CO
  • JURISDICTION: City of Denver, CO

In 2015, Denver city leaders from key health and public safety departments recognized that law enforcement officers were increasingly being dispatched to respond to individuals with mental health issues or in crisis, and that the criminal justice system is not designed to adequately address their needs. To address this critical gap, the Denver Police Department created the Crisis Intervention Response Unit (CIRU).

CIRU pairs licensed clinicians with police officers responding to calls for service involving individuals with suspected or known mental health needs. Since the program’s inception, clinicians have also been deployed to support Denver’s Downtown Detention Center and Harm Reduction Action Center, assist at-risk adult and intellectually/developmentally delayed victims involved in Special Victims Unit investigations, and aid the Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team.

Denver's Crisis Intervention Response Unit competes for the 2018 Innovations in American Government Award on Thursday, September 27.

A social worker interacts with a street performer during a CIRU patrol.

CIRU partners work with a homeless resident of Denver.