Federal grant will put more behavioral health officers on road

Katie KazimirGovernment, Headlines


A federal grant will help Milford Police put behavioral health officers on the road more.

Milford police will move closer to having a Behavioral Health Unit staff on the job after receiving a $363,000 federal grant. 

Behavior Health officers ride along with police officers and are trained to handle mental health issues.

“That’s the thing that leaves me up at night, making sure that we can cover seven days a week. Maybe not 24 hours. We can move towards that,” Chief Cecelia Ashe said during Monday’s Milford Public Safety Committee meeting.

The city has 37 officers on its force, but only one full-time behavioral health director who primarily works Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm, and two contracted part-time mental health clinicians who provide an additional 40 hours of coverage.

Cecilia Ashe

This grant was received from the US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance: Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Use Program through the State of Delaware Criminal Justice Council.

“With this new grant we will be able to increase our coverage to 7 days a week by adding additional hours to our two existing part-time clinicians as well as adding two more part-time clinicians,” said Milford Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Timothy Maloney.

The department also has received a $175,000 grant to buy electric vehicles and chargers to be installed at the back of the police station, Ashe said.

This grant was received from Energize Delaware, a nonprofit that promotes the use of electric vehicles in county and local governments.

The grant will help the department add two Ford F-150 Lightnings and one Ford Mustang Mach E to their fleet.

“These vehicles are subject to change based off of availability from the manufacturer,” said Maloney.

Also included in this grant are the addition of EV charging stations at the new police headquarters at a minimum cost to the city

“Currently we have 45 vehicles (including our two motorcycles) in the fleet,” Maloney said .  

“We have implemented a vehicle replacement program, so that when we acquire new vehicles we are decommissioning older vehicles in the fleet.,” he said.

Prior to  Ashe’s tenure with the department, there was no defined replacement program for the department’s fleet.

Within the last year, the department acquired the necessary vehicles to complete the implementation of the Take Home Vehicle Program, as well as a replacement program for the department’s fleet. 

Ashe also reported Monday night that the department saved almost $40,000 this year on new uniforms. 

Around $1,200 per staff member was cut from costs by switching from uniforms custom made specifically for each officer to ones “off the shelf” that can be altered to fit and be reused.

The new uniforms were funded through a $11,000 grant from the state and are more form fitting, with vests that better hold officers’ equipment, she said.

“The old vests were really a concern of the officers from a public safety perspective,” Ashe said, because the hanging equipment could be easily grabbed by a person resisting arrest.

In addition to exploring more cost-cutting strategies and grant options, Ashe said a focus for the department this year is community engagement.

Coffee With a Cop and Fishing with Kids are new events aimed at helping officers and the community connect, Ashe said.

The Milford Police Department’s annual budget is $6.5 million.

Share this Post