Community Response Team

The Community Response Team is a City of Orlando pilot program, led by the Orlando Police Department and in partnership with Aspire Health Partners, to provide a new line of first responders - behavioral health experts - to respond to certain non-violent calls where someone is experiencing a mental or behavioral crisis.

The pilot, which launched in March 2021, is part of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s efforts to ensure that every person in Orlando is equally valued and protected.

Community Response Team members are dispatched to non-violent mental health calls where they focus on de-escalation, helping the distressed individual(s) to feel less threatened and connecting those in need to treatment and support.

Other benefits of the program include reduced referrals to the criminal justice system and hospital emergency rooms and increased OPD efficiency by allowing officers to focus more on efforts where residents really need and want them – on law enforcement and community-oriented policing.

  • December 7, 2020 - City Council approval of partnership with Aspire
  • February 2, 2021 - Community Response Team begins training with Orlando Police Department
  • March 1, 2021 - Community Response Team begins shifts
  • December 31, 2021 - Conclusion of pilot program

Who makes up the Community Response Team

  • A licensed clinician
  • A case manager

Both are employed by Aspire Health Partners. Calls are vetted by trained city 911 operators. 

When is the CRT available?

Based on non-emergency call data, the following times have been set for the pilot program (these times are subject to change):

  • Wednesday - Friday
    9 a.m. - 1 a.m.
  • Saturday - Tuesday
    2 - 10 p.m.

What if CRT is not available?

Orlando police officers will continue to respond to all calls for service. This includes trained members of the OPD Crisis Intervention Team. Officers responding to calls are also able to write referrals for mental health and support services that the CRT can review for follow up. 

How the CRT works

If an incoming call requires immediate response to a mental health crisis, and does not indicate risk to the team, the team will respond if they are available. 

  • The responding team will arrive in a marked car and wear marked clothing identifying who they are
  • They will assess the situation and determine which services are most appropriate and provide a means of access to receive the necessary help
  • The CRT is also empowered to follow up on calls as necessary