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What is ICRA?

The International Co-Responder Alliance is a non-profit corporation focused on:

  • networking for every level of professional involved in co-responder programs,
  • educational opportunities including crisis response, program development and program evaluation,
  • continuing the National Co-Responder Conference - #CoRCon,
  • sharing innovative solutions to help programs grow and overcome obstacles,
  • developing best practices and interventions to capitalize on the unique partnerships in your area,
  • promoting diverse co-response models across Fire, EMS, and Law Enforcement,
  • helping new programs connect with established programs in areas of similar size, geography, culture, first responder discipline, and type of partnership to share successful approaches.


 Why ICRA?

  • ICRA is the hub for established programs to learn best practices and share exciting new ideas with one another.

  • It is the missing link between fledgling programs and established ones to help smooth growing pains and learn next steps.

  • It is a resource for communities looking to start a program; providing access to a variety of models across different first responder disciplines, partnerships, urban/suburban/rural areas, and geographical locations so they can pick the one best suited to their unique setting.      

Co-Responder Programs:

“Co-Response” means different things in different jurisdictions. At its core, though, is a belief that partnering first responders with behavioral health professionals is an effective way to respond to behavioral health crises and other situations involving unmet behavioral health needs. The first co-response teams, established in the 1970’s and 1980’s, paired police officers with mental health professionals to respond to crisis calls. Over the past 30 years, co-response has evolved to include fire and emergency medical service based programs, hybrid teams of police/fire/EMS, and include clinicians, substance use professionals, case managers, and peers. These teams still respond to crisis calls but have expanded to perform other functions like follow up services, case management, outreach to homeless populations, transportation, and resource navigation. 

While the forms of co-response have changed, the goals of the approach are consistent. First responders are often the only field based responders for individuals struggling with mental illness, mental health issues, substance use, and other behavioral health issues. Co-response aims to de-escalate these situations, improve the quality of interactions, promote safety, and facilitate access to care. An emerging body of evidence suggests that these programs reduce arrests, incarceration, and emergency room visits while effectively connecting people to needed care. Further, co-response teams often serve to make the sum of the system greater than its parts by promoting care coordination among agencies, health care, and the criminal justice system. 

Co-responder programs have a 50 year history, but many programs were launched in the last 5-10 years. There is a high demand, nationally and internationally, for opportunities to exchange ideas, share best practices, and prepare for new demands. ICRA is proud to be a resource for jurisdictions exploring co-response, and agencies looking to improve their programs.

You can read more about the concept of co-response, and its many variations, in this paper by Policy Research, Inc. and the National League of Cities. 

Co-Responder Models





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