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MPACT making a difference

MPACT, the Marshalltown Police and Community Team, has been a wonderful collaboration between YSS of Marshall County and our police department.

This pilot project began in 2021 and is among the first of its kind in Iowa. Advocates in the police department provide support and outreach for non-criminal, human service-based 911 calls.

From February through May, MPACT responded to 91 calls and helped 162 people. Of those, 41 percent noted their primary concern was mental health, while 29 percent said family conflict was their main concern.

As advocates respond to calls, they provide follow up visits and assist in coordinating services to people. More than 90 percent of those who had contact with an advocate, participated in the service. MPACT’s first interaction was with a 14-year-old having family conflicts. Most recently, MPACT has been helping a female with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Both are actively receiving care.

When we began to construct MPACT, we began with the end first: How will we know when we are successful? What will improvement look like? How will we assess the collaboration with our law enforcement partners?

Our intent was to provide critical services to non-criminal calls. We knew if we could meet people, we could prevent an unnecessary arrest, reduce trips to the ER, as well as reduce potentially escalating mental health situations.

We conducted a survey of the Marshalltown Police Department regarding MPACT’s ability to meet these issues. With nearly a 70 percent response rate, we were able to report 60 percent of the officers stated MPACT’s involvement likely prevented an arrest. Nearly 80 percent reported MPACT prevented a situation from becoming worse. Almost 90 percent reported that their time spent on non-criminal calls has been reduced due. More than 90 percent reported MPACT’s partnership has been of benefit to their role and 100 percent reported they would support our continued partnership.

While we are nearly six months into our pilot project, we are learning what is still needed. Nearly all the officers reported they’d like to see MPACT expand to 24-hour coverage. Our funding only allows us to provide 10-hour coverage from 2 p.m. until midnight each day.

One officer said, “I cannot say enough great things about this program.”

We want to thank the city leaders, our law enforcement partners, and the community of Marshalltown for their support, investment and commitment to MPACT.

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