SPOKANE – The Spokane Police Department is launching a new program where mental health professionals ride along with several officers so the department can better respond to the city’s mental health dilemma.

Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl says people in a mental health crisis typically ended up in the hospital or jail for treatment, but now that mental health professionals will accompany officers to the scene, they will be able to get people invested in their own health.

Their goal is to send people struggling with mental health issues to outpatient facilities and connect them to other resources, instead of clogging up hospitals and jails.