In late 2016, Governor John Hickenlooper formed a Mental Health Holds Task Force to create better practices when responding to behavioral health crises in the community. By converging both Equitas’ Colorado Course Corrections Summit and the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, the task force agreed on a statewide priority of reforming the use of jails for mental health holds. With support from the County Sheriffs of Colorado, the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council, and other key stakeholders from across the state of Colorado, efforts of all involved came to fruition in Senate Bill 207: Strengthen Colorado Behavioral Health Crisis System.
Colorado legislature approved Senate Bill 207’s appropriation of more than $7 million for the year of 2017/2018 to fund statewide training for first-responders, crisis intervention services and infrastructure, increase the capacity of rural crisis response, law enforcement-clinician partnerships, and many more. In addition to this allocation, $2.5 million is allocated to support the implementation of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, a pilot program.