A state grant could double the number of mental health specialists working with law enforcement in Larimer County.

County commissioners approved the application for $362,000 from the Colorado Department of Human Services on Tuesday. Officials hope to know the result mid-November.

If approved, it could lead to six mental health specialists working with first responders throughout Larimer County to de-escalate mental health crises and, officials hope, keep people going through those crises out of the criminal justice system altogether, instead funneling them to behavioral health services. That could help free up law enforcement and firefighters to focus on other needs.

"It's not just a response issue," Larimer County Director of Criminal Justice Services Gary Darling said. "Once that person responds, they'll act as a caseworker ... we want to keep (the person in crisis) out of the criminal justice system all together."

Read more at the Coloradoan: http://noconow.co/2xy7Uuf

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