Holistic Assistance Response Team (HART) has Responded to Nearly 1,000 911 Calls

13 Oct, 22

HART’s community responders are now handling nearly 20% of all 911 calls in their service area. This is the equivalent of 11 full-time deputies and 675 hours of officer time.

WHAT: Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Mike Lee and health officials will announce the Holistic Assistance Response Team (HART) nears historic milestone of responding to 1,000 911 calls. HART is one of the county’s violence interruption programs launched in February to make our communities healthier and safer. HART team members and their marked vehicle will be on site.

About HART: The program dispatches appropriate health-based responses to 911 callers facing mental health and social welfare problems that do not need an officer or ambulance. This service frees law enforcement officials to focus on dangerous situations. 

WHO: Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis
Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Mike Lee
HART Case Management Team Members and Vehicle

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 13, 10 a.m.

WHERE: Finnigan Park | 4900 Providence St., Houston, TX 77020 

Harris County Commissioners Rodney Ellis and Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Mike Lee say the Holistic Assistance Response Team (HART) – which in February started responding to 911 calls related to mental health, social welfare, homelessness and other health-based matters – is reaching a historic milestone of being dispatched to 1,000 calls. 

 “We cannot expect the Harris County Sheriff’s Office to respond to every nonemergency call,” Commissioner Ellis said. “We call a police officer or sheriff’s deputy for every problem we have. If the issue is violence, they will handle it. If it’s not violence, we are going to let trained experts respond to the call, thus freeing deputies to respond to emergencies.”

Since the program’s inception, the team has responded to nearly 1,000 911 calls. Nearly 700 people have been supported with immediate interventions from our HART responders who are trained in behavioral and medical health and social work. HART’s community responders are handling nearly 20% of all 911 calls in their service area.

HART, which is operated by Harris County Public Health (HCPH), sends trained first responders to assist people struggling with issues related to mental health, substance use or homelessness so they can receive help they need. The program also eases the burden on law enforcement by allowing deputies to focus on serious violent crimes.

The HART program, one of two pilot programs under the Community Health and Violence Prevention Services (CHVPS) Division at HCPH, operates out of the Cypress Station area in north Harris County. 

“We dedicated $1.4 billion of our annual budget to justice and public safety – the largest amount ever allocated in Harris County history,” Commissioner Ellis said. “But we’re not just throwing money at the same old strategies that have failed our communities for decades. We’re rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on smart and meaningful programs to get at the root causes of crime.”