The Duluth Police Department is known for solving problems. We’ve been nationally recognized for our innovative programs that took out-of-the-box thinking to find solutions. Below is a snapshot of some of DPD's most recognized initiatives:
Mental Health Unit (CORE)
The CORE Unit is the new name for the Mental Health Unit. CORE uses a co-responder model and it began as a way to address the numerous responses to mental health calls in Duluth. At the time, officers were out of tools to help people in crisis. The ER was overloaded and the jail certainly wasn’t the solution. So an officer and a homeless advocate teamed up to work together to get individuals to the right resources. After several years of continued success and connecting hundreds of individuals to resources, the program expanded to a Unit Commander, two officers, two embedded social workers, and an embedded registered nurse. Since March 2017, 790 people have been referred to CORE and in 2021, 485 people have been referred.
Substance Use Response Team (SURT)
The Substance Use Response Team (SURT) is a Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) modeled program within the Duluth Police Department. SURT was created in 2018 as part of a federal overdose outreach grant through the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). Since that time, SURT has received additional federal funding that has allowed the program to grow and evolve to fit the needs of the community. Currently, SURT employs three Peer Recovery Specialists and through a partnership with the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment, SURT also employs an ADC-T who is able to offer Comprehensive Assessments to individuals in their homes or out in the community, and typically within 48 hrs. SURT’s primary goal is to get individuals struggling with substance use out of the criminal justice system and into recovery support services.
SURT provides outreach to opioid overdose survivors, performs street outreach, accepts family and friend referrals, offers in-reach into local jails, and receives referrals from partner agencies. If you, or someone you love, is struggling with Substance Use Disorder and could benefit from outreach by SURT please call (218) 730-4009 or email SURT’s Lead Peer Recovery Specialist at JMcCarthy@duluthmn.gov
The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative or SAKI is a collaboration between PAVSA, the Duluth Police Department, and the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office. The purpose of the project is the elimination of the backlog of un-submitted sexual assault kits held by the Duluth Police Department. If you are interested in learning more about SAKI, contact Mary Faulkner, the Site Coordinator at 218/730-5452.
Mending the Sacred Hoop
Native women are the highest victimized population in the United States by perpetrators of all races. (Bureau of Crime Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. American Indians and Crime Report. Washington: 1999). Mending the Sacred Hoop is an initiative we worked closely on with our Native American community. It’s a nationally recognized initiative that works to change society to end violence against Native women.
Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs
Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs is home of The Duluth Model. This model began in 1980 when eleven agencies in the Duluth community agreed to formally work together to end violence against women. The Duluth Model is a collaborative effort that works to change the behavior of abusers, rather than ending the abusive relationship. The model listens to the voices of victims to bring about programs that translate their experiences into innovative programs that result in changes in abusive behavior. Communities around the world have replicated the Duluth Model.
Person-Centered Incident Matrix
The Person-Centered Incident Matrix is part of the person-centered approach to crisis management. It's a community collaboration between the Duluth Police Department and St. Louis County to implement person-centered responses to adults experiencing crisis and who are in need of support and services. This is a new state-recognized program that the Duluth Police Department is continuing to evolve to better serve the residents of Duluth.
Here is the matrix that is used.