The Mobile Evaluation Team (MET) was created in 2017. and partners a uniformed Fremont police officer with a licensed mental health professional. The overarching goals of MET are to provide a more comprehensive and compassionate response to calls for service involving the homeless and/or community members experiencing a mental health crisis, to link community members to mental health and/or homeless service providers, and to provide resources and guidance to family members and loved ones of those dealing with mental illness. Currently, MET has one police sergeant, one police officer, and two licensed mental health professionals assigned to the team.
MET was officially created in January of 2017. Fremont MET borrowed many concepts and ideas from Oakland PD’s MET, which is a partnership between Oakland PD and ACBH.MET welcomed its first officer to the team in May of 2017 and the second officer in July of 2017. Fremont Police and ACBH worked tirelessly to implement the partnership between the two agencies, but for a variety of reasons it never came to fruition.Washington Hospital Healthcare System (WHHS), which had been an early advocate of MET, agreed to provide a Crisis Nurse/Crisis Care Coordinator to the team, full-time, at no cost to the PD.That position was filled in September of 2018.Concurrently, City of Fremont Human Services recruited and hired a full-time Crisis Intervention Specialist, with an agreement that the person in that position would work 20 hours per week with MET. That position was filled in May of 2019.
To better leverage the skills and knowledge of the Crisis Nurse/Crisis Care Coordinator, MET started minor unofficial case management services to address members of the Fremont community who were high utilizers of emergency services (Fire, Police, EMS). The goal was to redirect those individuals to appropriate service providers for long term case management services and care. Around the same time, MET became more involved in the growing number of calls for service involving the City’s homeless population. In May of 2019, the Crisis Intervention Specialist joined the team; the CIS had prior experience working with a regional homeless services provider, so she was a welcomed addition to the team. Her focus of effort was to engage with our homeless population and to be a liaison between Fremont Police, City of Fremont Human Services, and area homeless services providers.
It has been a challenge for MET to address a wide breadth of responsibilities, however, there have been numerous success stories, and the team has made great inroads in building new partnerships with local service providers while strengthening existing collaborative efforts. One of the biggest challenges is that a number of individuals are averse to accepting any services. We continue to provide information and referrals for support, but ultimately the individuals have to be willing to accept these services. Other challenges include patrol staffing levels and general police department recruitment difficulties. In late 2018, one of the MET officer positions was temporarily re-assigned to uniformed Patrol because of critical Patrol staffing levels. In Mid-2019, the second officer position was also returned to Patrol for the same reason. Despite the staffing challenges, MET continued in operation until the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020. In response to the pandemic, MET was placed on temporary hiatus, but returned in July at shift change. MET currently has 1 full-time sergeant, 1 full-time officer, 1 part-time Crisis Nurse/Crisis Care Coordinator, and 1 part-time CIS. As Patrol staffing levels improve, MET is expected to add an additional full-time police officer to the team in the fourth quarter of 2020.
After years of increases our 5150 calls (individual with mental health issues posting a danger to self or others) have decreased each year after the MET program has launched.
There are other teams in our community which address homeless and/or mental health, but none of them are a collaboration between law enforcement and mental health or homeless services providers. ACBH staffs a Mobile Crisis Team, which is a pair of mental health professionals who can respond to mental health crisis calls in the field. They operate Monday-Friday between 1000-2000 hrs. and can be reached at (510) 891-5600. Abode Services, Bay Area Community Services (BACS), and Tri-City Health are local service providers who offer a variety of programs for community members who are homeless and/of who have mental illness. Some of the programs and services offered by these groups deploy into the field. ACBH and Falck Ambulance recently developed the Community Assessment and Transport Team (CATT), which partners up a mental health professional and a paramedic to respond to calls for service in the county where a community member needs medical and/or mental health treatment. CATT currently serves the communities of Hayward and Oakland, but will be serving other communities, including Fremont, once they are fully staffed. CATT responds only to calls made from local fire departments or police departments, not community members.
The City and MET are aware of the homeless community members in various parts of the City. MET continues outreach to those community members as part of its mission. MET has also made numerous referrals to homeless services providers asking for assistance in addressing this population. MET coordinates with other City of Fremont departments to conduct regular clean ups and abatement. City leadership is constantly evaluating locations throughout the City where homeless activities are having a negative impact on surrounding community members and/or businesses. In 2020 the City filled the Homeless Coordinator position to serve as a liaison between the homeless population, City services, and other available resources. The City has also championed the Housing Navigation Center which opens August 2020. City of Fremont balances the needs of both homeless and other community members in enforcing local regulations and conducting clean ups and abatement. Enforcing local regulations with equity and compassion and understanding is a model Fremont Police strives to achieve. Because some homeless encampments are located are private property, it is the responsibility of the property owner to clean up any homeless camps on his/her property. MET frequently works with private property owners throughout the City to address homeless issues on their property.
- Crisis response, information and referral for anyone in Alameda County 1-800-491-9099
- Asian Language (510) 869-7200
- Spanish Language (510) 881-5921
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing (510) 225-7013 or (510) 984-16545 video phone
- Family Education and Resource Center (FERC)
- Nationwide Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Crisis Support Information
- Alameda County Behavioral Health
- Resources in the City of Fremont for the Homeless/Hungry