Skip to Content (Press Enter)

CSUF Prioritizes Intervention and Support With Holistic Safety Plan

Counseling and Psychological Services, CSUF Police Department Launch CAPS Mobile Crisis Team
Share This:

With a vision to reimagine university policing, Cal State Fullerton’s Police Department and Counseling and Psychological Services implemented a new holistic safety plan that will enhance safety for the Titan community by prioritizing intervention and support, becoming a model for the California State University system.

CSUF Police Chief Anthony Frisbee
Anthony Frisbee, CSUF PD police chief

The plan includes a tiered safety response system that emphasizes community and connects students to campus resources. The two new safety tiers include the CAPS Mobile Crisis Team and campus safety specialists. 

“This holistic safety bridge connects the CSUF community to vital resources, helps dispel the stigma around seeking mental health assistance and allows CSUF police officers to focus on deterring, preventing and responding to crime,” said Anthony Frisbee, CSUF PD police chief. 

CAPS Mobile Crisis Team

The recently formed CAPS Mobile Crisis Team was created as a partnership between Counseling and Psychological Services and CSUF PD. 

The CAPS Mobile Crisis Team is activated when a student calls Counseling and Psychological Services or the police department‘s 24-hour dispatch center. The team consists of a CAPS-licensed mental health professional and a campus safety specialist, who arrive on the scene together. This pairing ensures students receive counseling and mental health support in a safe environment. The CAPS Mobile Crisis Team is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

“It can be overwhelming, stressful and really difficult at times to be a human. And so who better to respond to a student in a mental health crisis than a licensed mental health professional?” said Dr. Kevin Thacker Thomas, senior associate director of Counseling and Psychological Services. 

CAPS has hired two mobile crisis therapists who will be responsible for: responding to student crisis/mental health emergencies on campus; providing crisis interventions and stabilization to students; providing case management and short-term therapeutic interventions; and linking students with on-campus and off-campus mental health partners.

Members of the CAPS Mobile Crisis Team, from left to right, Karla Perez, Kevin Thacker Thomas, Jaime Sheehan, Myesha Dunn and Valerie Arribeño
Members of the CAPS Mobile Crisis Team, from left to right, Karla Perez, Kevin Thacker Thomas, Jaime Sheehan, Myesha Dunn and Valerie Arribeño

 “The team’s goals are to divert students from hospitalizations, support students discharged from higher levels of care like a hospital, reduce criminalization of students in distress, and provide students with community resources,” said Dr. Jaime Sheehan, director of CAPS.

Following the best practice guidelines for crisis intervention published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the mobile crisis team includes key components such as a licensed mental health professional on the team, community-based intervention techniques, the ability to meet callers in their environments, and the means to transport students to other facilities.

“Our research indicated most often mobile crisis teams are run through a fire department, police department or health center. By having the MCT within CAPS we ensure that CSUF students have an easy and reliable link to therapy services,” explained Sheehan. “Our goal is to make sure that our students feel supported during the crisis as well as afterward.”

“When it comes to safety and well-being, innovation shines when it embraces collaboration and compassion. The CAPS Mobile Crisis Team is a testament to that idea,” said Frisbee.

Campus Safety Specialists

Typically, CSUF police officers are responsible for responding to every call. With the addition of campus safety specialists, unarmed full-time personnel who respond to nonviolent and noncriminal calls for service, officers are available to assist on calls that require their training, experience and expertise.

Available 24/7, campus safety specialists are equipped with specialized training in de-escalation, CPR and first aid, mental health awareness, defensive tactics, diversity, equity, and inclusion practices and will respond to mental health crises alongside a licensed mental health professional.

CAPS Mobile Crisis Team Counseling Pyschological Services Unarmed Response
Campus safety specialists and CAPS Mobile Crisis Team

“It’s a great transition to have campus safety specialists at CSUF as it can help balance out officers’ work on campus. It increases the department’s flexibility in case an emergency occurs, and an officer isn’t available to assist with a service call,” said Leslie Valdez ’23 (B.A. criminal justice and anthropology), CSUF PD campus safety specialist.

Valdez added that she and five other campus safety specialists are responsible for patrolling the university and working closely with Counseling and Psychological Services to ensure that non-emergent calls receive the proper tiered responses.