The Bloomington Police Department is planning to open a crisis diversion center as a way to decrease crime in the city, according to police chief Mike Diekhoff.
Diekhoff described the effort during an Aug. 20 budget hearing before Bloomington City Council.
In his presentation, Diekhoff indicated that one of BPD's goals is to establish an "evidence-based, police-led diversion program to assist in rehabilitation or services as a preference over incarceration for non-violent offenders."
Diekhoff said discussions in the past several months have focused on where to house such a program. He estimated the center would cost about $700,000 to operate annually. He said the city has held discussions with Monroe County and private businesses on this project, and has applied for grants to help support it financially. After a location is established, he said, "then we can move forward with actually doing pre-arrest diversion work."
Councilmember Isabel Piedmont-Smith (District 5) expressed support for the center. "I think this is a very smart innovation that has worked well in other communities to keep people whose issues are really not with the law but with mental health, with addictions – to keep those out of our jail and to get them the help they need."
Click here to view their discussion on CATS. Click here to view slides from the chief's presentation.
Monroe County government is currently undertaking a study of its criminal justice system. A diversion center is being considered for that effort.
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