The Modesto Police Department's Community Health and Assistance Team (CHAT) is a program designed to use trained Outreach Specialists to respond to qualifying 911 calls, received through the 911 communications center, for mental health crises and similar non-criminal, non-violent incidents.
The Team currently consists of full-time staff who work in close collaboration with Stanislaus County social services, Non-profit organizations and Modesto Police Department's (MPD) HEART team.
C.H.A.T. provides alternatives to traditional police responses and continues to evolve in order to meet the needs of the community.
Origin of the C.H.A.T. Team
Embracing the concept of using resources other than sworn officers to handle specific calls for service, the police department began exploring the idea of creating city Homeless Outreach Specialists in the summer of 2020.
The first Homeless Outreach Specialists were hired in April and since then, they have worked closely with the police department’s Homeless Engagement and Response Team, known as H.E.A.R.T., to focus on the immediate support, intervention and connection to services of people experiencing homelessness.
The early success of these outreach specialists has been promising, helping to build relationships and work with individuals to accept shelter and services, resulting in the newly formed CHAT team.