Erie Police Co-responder
The Erie Police Department is pleased to introduce you to their most recent addition. Welcome, Melissa Richardson, Erie Police Department’s first co-responder.
Co-responders receive extensive training in mental health, substance intoxication and treatment, crisis intervention, verbal de-escalation, crisis case management, tactical empathy and more. Working as a team, law enforcement and a co-responder arrive together on calls for service which may involve mental health, substance use, death of a loved one, or another type of crisis.
We hope you will take just a moment to get to know Melissa a little better and if you see her out in the community, be sure to say hello.
Introduce yourself and tell us what you do for the Erie Police Department
I am a co-responder for Boulder county, a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Addiction Counselor. My first day as a co-responder was Monday, May 17. Before this position, I worked for a non-profit organization in the Denver area for five years as a Residential Behavioral Health Supervisor and a therapist in two community correctional facilities. The organization provided clinical services to the criminal justice community and assists with addiction and other mental health issues. I also have experience working with multiple organizations which fight human trafficking and assist survivors through prevention, intervention and restoration efforts.
Tell us what you do as a co-responder
The co-responder model focuses on introducing mental health expertise during a law enforcement encounter to reduce arrests and hospitalization. The model also tries to decrease the distress caused to people during these incidents. We collaborate with and work alongside law enforcement professionals to better serve the community, especially in situations involving mental health, substance use and other crises.
What drew you to co-responding?
I am passionate about mental health and justice. I love that this position combines both of these and prioritizes collaboration amongst behavioral health specialists and law enforcement to better support the community. My identical twin sister is a police officer in Texas as well, so I have learned about the need and desire for co-responders.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy working alongside law enforcement and working on a team to help people. Helping create connections and collaborating with other helping professionals is great! Erie is a very fun and supportive community to work with and I am honored and excited to be here.