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The Greensboro Police Department was selected to receive funds from the Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) Grant, through the NC Legislature House Bill 802. With these additional resources, GPD’s Behavioral Health Response Team now includes an EMS component.
Billie Silvera, Community Health Paramedic with Guilford County Emergency Medical Services Division, joined the team on August 29. Silvera has an extensive work history serving patients with behavioral health and developmental disabilities and has worked as a paramedic since 2014.
“I’m able to use both aspects of my career experiences- being a paramedic and serving those with mental health needs. I’m doing what I love on this team and together we are able to help others when they call 911” said Silvera.
With the new BHRT/STAR program, an officer, licensed clinician and paramedic now respond together in one vehicle to calls where a mental health component may be present.
“This team is successful in that we are providing residents of Greensboro with the best service we can offer. There are certainly calls where officer support is needed. Other times, our officers can default to the team’s clinician or paramedic for the exact care – whether that is getting them connected with the help they need or providing immediate medical assistance,” explained Corporal Jeremy Johnson of BHRT.
GPD’s BHRT officially began in January of 2021 and since then the team has answered approximately 4,000 calls for service. While BHRT is available to respond to individuals experiencing a crisis, the officers, clinicians, and paramedic also have the responsibility of follow-up and coordination of services. It is the goal of the BHRT/STAR program to provide comprehensive support through this three-pronged approach.
“More than anything, we want the community to know that they can trust us when they call 911. We are passionate about this work and want to support each individual the best we can” said Erin Williams, Lead Mental Health Clinician.
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What District Am I In?