What is PERT?
The Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) consists of a licensed mental health clinician and a dedicated Escondido police officer that work together to assess a mentally ill individual. Assessments are completed in a respectful and professional manner, and are intended to provide the most appropriate assistance available. The assessed individual is generally referred to a community based mental health facility that can provide crisis intervention, outpatient care and case management services.
Sometimes involuntary hospitalizations may be necessary. In such a case, the individual in crisis is taken to the nearest treatment facility and held for up to 72 hours. Any PERT clinician, law enforcement officer or county designated personnel may place an individual on an involuntary 72-hour hold.
If hospitalization is deemed necessary, PERT typically transports the individual to Palomar Medical Center. A PERT member stays with the individual until the hospital’s social worker accepts the individual for further assessment by hospital staff.
Advantages of the PERT Program
- Rapid response for mental health emergencies.
- Use of therapeutic crisis intervention techniques.
- Comprehensive understanding and management of individuals with mental illness.
- Transport to various facilities based on continuity of care.
- Referral services such as outpatient clinics, case management and crisis centers.
- Collaboration between community law enforcement agencies, Department of Mental Health, and PERT Inc.
- Limited follow-up with mentally ill individuals.
- Decrease in hospitalizations and incarceration.
When Does PERT Respond?
PERT may be dispatched if a community member (e.g., family, neighbor, health provider, business person) reports an individual in need of psychiatric crisis intervention or assessment.
In the event a PERT member is not available, patrol officers will be dispatched as necessary to handle the situation safely.
To Access a PERT Team
For emergencies dial 911.
For non-emergencies, call the Escondido Police Department at 760-839-4722 and request the PERT team.
PERT (Psychiatric Emergency Response Team) is a partnership between local law enforcement and PERT Inc., a non-profit organization allied with San Diego County Health and Human Services, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and the Community Research Foundation.
Other law enforcement agencies with PERT include:
Please visit the Community Research Foundation for more information on PERT.