Podany told city council on August 15 that Amanda Terwey, who has been in the contracted position since last year, has had 1,000 referrals from officers after they’ve responded to calls. She’s also responded to active scenes more than 30 times so far in 2022 and had 200 follow-ups.
“That’s just in the city of Blaine,” said Podany at the meeting. “So to say that this position has been valuable is an understatement.”
Terwey, who may not be the person who takes the full-time position, told North Metro TV in March that she’s glad to see law enforcement embracing the move toward more mental health response.
“Often times, people are calling 911 because they need help and sometimes it’s as simple as getting people the correct resources,” she said. “Other times, it’s connecting with people in crisis and really assisting them in de-escalation. It comes back to being able to identify the issue and how to resolve and find a good solution for all.”
Podany wanted the city to use portions of a federal opioid settlement to help offset the cost of making the position full-time moving forward. The portion the city of Blaine is set to receive from the settlement is nearly $950,000 over the next 17 years. But Mayor Tim Sanders said he’d rather the police department make the position a part of its budget and then the city can use the settlement money for something else.
City council approved the full-time designation for the position.
“I am thrilled at the success of this,” said Council Member Julie Jeppson. “I’m saddened at the success of this, because it saddens me that it is needed. But, I think the data in support of your officers, in support of our community and in support of those who are receiving the services–I think it’s a new way in law enforcement.”