New Behavioral Health Program Gives Law Enforcement Better Tools to Respond to Potentially Violent Situations

Newton Medical Center. Arrive Together logo - text is flanked by a cross inside a heart shape on left, and a star inside a shield shape on right

When law enforcement officers respond to emergency situations that could hold the potential for violence, sometimes the most appropriate action may not be an arrest, but a behavioral health intervention.

A new program in Sussex County, N.J., launched with the backing of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, marks a significant milestone in the intersection of law enforcement and behavioral health care.

Atlantic Health System’s Newton Medical Center’s Alternative Responses to Reduce Instances of Violence and Escalation (ARRIVE) program is a pioneering initiative aimed at reshaping responses to mental health crises, reducing instances of violence and providing more compassionate and effective responses to mental health emergencies.

The program allows law enforcement officers to use their judgement onsite to decide whether a hotline is a more effective response than handcuffs in a given situation. If so, officers can call Newton Medical Center’s crisis hotline to let them know that a patient needs to be seen and will then coordinate the outreach. This approach aims to de-escalate situations and connect individuals with appropriate mental health services, fostering a safer and more supportive community environment.

Newton Medical Center serves as the designated psychiatry screening center for Sussex County and plays a pivotal role in the success of the ARRIVE Together program.


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