The Erie Police Department has returned a program from nearly two decades ago.

On Monday, Erie Police began using its re-established crisis car. This is to help address the city’s growing number of mental health-related calls.

With American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding, the department is able to restart the program with the help of local agencies, such as UPMC’s Crisis Center at Safe Harbor. The two-officer patrol car will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

On day one, the car went on eight calls which included one voluntary mental health call, one domestic violence arrest and four outreach calls.

“Mental health agencies, Office of Children and Youth, the hospitals who worked alongside us and developing not only the training but the relationships needed to sustain a positive work environment,” said Lt. Jamie Russo, Erie City Police Department. “These officers are going to be out in the community developing relationships with the mental health population, with the homeless population, which will enable us to provide a better service to that population in a time of need.”

The team will continuously be trained to help address the needs of the community.