Congressman Kim Secures $32,000 for On P.O.I.N.T., Program to Reduce Policing Crises and Improve Public Safety in Ocean County
STAFFORD, NJ – This month, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2022 government funding package that includes $32,000 for Ocean County’s On P.O.I.N.T. (Proactive Outreach In Needs and Treatment) community-based policing program that embeds social workers with participating Ocean County police departments to reduce the need for police intervention in mental health and substance abuse cases.
“I am incredibly proud to bring this funding home to support the revolutionary On P.O.I.N.T. program in Ocean County,” said Congressman Kim. “This program has already helped countless families struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues throughout our community. This program is what we need to strengthen public safety, help people who are struggling, and make sure we’re supporting our brave police officers that protect us every single day.”
Developed in 2016 to address the high volume of mental health, substance abuse, and social service-related calls and incidents that use a significant amount of police and emergency resources, On P.O.I.N.T. currently pairs Bright Harbor Healthcare social workers with seven Ocean County police departments (Lacey, Lakehurst, Little Egg Harbor, Manchester, Ocean Township, South Toms River, and Stafford). With this additional funding, On P.O.I.N.T. will expand into Barnegat Township and use police-initiated social work to improve our communities and enhance public safety.
“So many of the challenges that law enforcement and society face together are rooted in the growing need for mental health services,” said Barnegat Police Chief, Keith A. Germain. “On POINT serves as the perfect example of what we can accomplish when we partner the police with mental health professionals in an innovative way. We see better outcomes, safer interactions, and a more efficient use of available resources. Thank you, Congressman Kim, for your work to help this important program.”
“Bright Harbor Healthcare is thrilled to be able to expand our On P.O.I.N.T. program to Barnegat Township and would like to thank Congressman Andy Kim for working to obtain the federal funding making that possible, said CEO of Bright Harbor Healthcare, James M. Cooney. “On P.O.I.N.T. has been successful in seven other Ocean County communities, significantly reducing the number of repeat calls to police. Last year, in the communities ON-POINT serves, we have seen a reduction in police time responding to these repeat calls ranging from 70% to 88% providing a significant savings to those municipalities. Thank you, Congressman Kim!”
“Since the inception of the On P.O.I.N.T. program in September 2016, the program has been able to assist hundreds of our residents in their time of need. With the additional funding for the expansion of the program into Barnegat Township, their department and community will be able to benefit from the program as well,” said Stafford Township Police Captain, James R. Vaughn. “Additionally, the On P.O.I.N.T. program has significantly helped reduce the need for our department and emergency medical services to be involved with reoccurring mental health episodes. It has also supported the department’s Community Policing Unit’s mission of building strong and longstanding relationships with our community members. Finally, the On P.O.I.N.T. program has built a great working partnership between our department and Bright Harbor Healthcare (formerly Ocean Mental Health Services), and we are looking forward to this partnership growing in the years to come.”
Congressman Kim is a member of the Bipartisan Law Enforcement Caucus and the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force. Congressman Kim cosponsored and voted to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a bill that would make critical reforms to America’s law enforcement system. He also authored the Synthetic Opioid Danger Awareness Act, which has passed the House. Congressman Kim’s legislation would direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a public education campaign about the dangers of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids and the treatment services available. The bill would also direct the CDC to disseminate information on synthetic opioids to health care providers and require the development of training materials for first responders and other workers at high risk of exposure on synthetic opioid exposure prevention measures.
Congressman Kim is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Committee on Small Business. More information about Congressman Kim can be found on his website by clicking here.