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Dutchess County Establishing Threat Assessment Group

Published: 8/11/2022

Poughkeepsie, NY... Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has announced the County is underway with the establishment of the multidisciplinary Threat Assessment and Advisory Group – the Dutchess County TAG, following approval from the Dutchess County Legislature. The goal of the TAG is to increase communications across prevention, treatment and response entities and to serve as central point of information coordination about potential risks of violence to help prevent traumatic events, including loss of life, in the community.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Mental health and crisis situations are at the forefront of our national awareness. In Dutchess County we want to stay ahead of potential tragedies and find individuals who may be on the brink of a crisis to get the help they desperately need. Our new Threat Assessment Group will bring together local agencies and community organizations to help identify potential situations that present higher risk and, in turn, protect the safety and wellbeing of our residents.”

The TAG will be comprised of mental health professionals, law enforcement and emergency response personnel, domestic violence agencies, veterans’ services, as well as representatives from the faith-based and school communities. Its goal is to balance the safety needs of the community with the health and wellness needs of the individual exhibiting risk behaviors with a proactive response, acting as a central point of information and assessment related to threat cases. Any participating agency can bring a case with significant risk factors and warning behaviors to the TAG. The group will make recommendations with suggested interventions and case management strategies, and members can offer resources to assist with the specific case.

Jean-Marie Niebuhr, LCSW-R, Deputy Commissioner for the County’s Department of Behavioral and Community Health said, “Dutchess County is blessed to have many dedicated agencies working to help people who are struggling with mental health, substance use and other behavioral challenges, but there is always more to be done. Cases can be challenging and complex. Bringing various agencies together to establish stronger lines of communications with the opportunity to share information, ideas, experiences and concerns in a problem-solving environment will allow us to hopefully see the full picture of what an individual is facing and how we can synergize our actions to find solutions that get them the help they need before they do harm to themselves or others.”

The TAG will operate under an Inter-Municipal agreement (IMA), which will require County Legislature approval, and County Executive Molinaro will forward a resolution for the Legislature’s vote at its August board meeting. Once approved, training for the TAG, as well as assistance in developing policies and procedures, will be provided by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NYS DHSES) and the Office of Mental Hygiene (OMH). Initial members of the TAG as outlined in the resolution include:

  • Bard College
  • Culinary Institute of America
  • Dutchess Community College
  • Dutchess County BOCES
  • Marist College
  • Vassar College
  • Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie
  • Family Services, Inc
  • Grace Smith House
  • Hudson River Housing
  • Mental Health America of Dutchess
  • PEOPLE, Inc
  • Rehabilitation Support Services, Inc.
  • NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH)
  • DC Behavioral & Community Health
  • DC Community & Family Services
  • DC District Attorney
  • DC Emergency Response
  • DC Probation
  • DC Public Defender
  • DC Veterans Services
  • DC Sheriff’s Office
  • NYS Police Troop K
  • City of Beacon Police Department
  • City of Poughkeepsie Police Department
  • Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department
  • Town of East Fishkill Police Department
  • Town of Fishkill Police Department
  • Town of Hyde Park Police Department

“Dutchess County has long been a model for New York for tackling complex issues head on with comprehensive initiatives. NYS DHSES immediately agreed to Dutchess County’s request for training assistance and is very interested in our efforts going forward,” said County Commissioner of Emergency Response Dana Smith. “By bringing local resources together, we can try and help those who need it and prevent catastrophic events from happening. I am confident this group will make a real difference in emergency management and prevention.”

County Executive Molinaro concluded, “Dutchess County continues to prioritize a holistic approach to mental health and crisis intervention. Balancing public safety with the health and wellness needs of the person at risk, as well as considering those who may be impacted by the at-risk person, will be a key focus of the TAG. We are grateful to work with our local agencies, and together we help ensure the safety of our community by lase focusing our efforts on individuals who are at risk and have the greatest need of help.”

The Dutchess County Legislature will review the County Executive’s resolution to establish the TAG at its Public Safety Committee meeting on Thursday, August 18th and the full board is expected to vote on the resolution at the Monday, August 22nd board meeting to be held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.