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Johnson County co-responders log record-year of interventions

co responders
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jan 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-26 18:55:01-05

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. — More people are connecting with mental health professionals in Johnson County than ever before, specifically through the co-responder program.

The Johnson County Mental Health Center worked with local sheriff’s offices and police departments to place mental health professionals within their organizations.

Co-responders lead mental health decisions in the community from outreach to joint 911 response.

“They aren’t the right person all the time to provide that support or intervention that’s needed,” said Johnson County Mental Health Center Deputy Division Director Jessica Murphy.

Murphy says the increase in responses by co-responders in the area could be due to a variety of reasons, such as more available resources and less stigma around seeking help.


Prairie Village is one of the cities in Johnson County who has a co-responder embedded within the department.

The department’s staff services division commander Ivan Washington said the program is an advantage for their officers.

“The benefit of having the co-responders is to constantly check in and constantly prod,” Washington said. “Just make sure residents are in a safe place.”

A co-responder’s day is split between field work and making calls in the office. A simple call can make a difference according to Murphy.

“Just having that conversation allows them to talk about it in a supportive setting because often you feel alone after those things happen,” she said.

The program employs 16 co-responders, and they are looking for four more full-time employees.