1.     What credentials are required of PERT Clinicians?

Each of our clinical staff have a master's degree level of education or higher. PERT Clinicians are licensed in the State of California as health care professionals. These licenses include Licensed Psychologist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), and Registered Nurse (RN). Beyond attaining the competence of being granted a professional license, PERT Clinicians have extensive experience working with persons (and their family members) living with serious mental illness. Another requirement is the passing the civilian security background investigation conducted by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.


2.     Approximately how many PERT clinicians work in San Diego?

       We are funded for 72 clinicians through San Diego County - Behavioral Health Services.


3.     With a PERT unit consisting of both a law enforcement officer and PERT Clinician, what are their respective roles?

 PERT Clinicians ride their entire shift in a patrol car driven by their law enforcement partner. Since PERT is dispatched to offer assistance via the 911 or local non-emergency dispatch system, the officer (with the PERT Clinician as a passenger) drives to the scene where the person in crisis is located.  Upon arrival, the officer makes the initial contact and safety assessment (for the person in crisis and any potential bystanders). The PERT Clinician is then introduced and proceeds to take the lead in conducting a mental health assessment to clarify the nature of the person's crisis and to explore available community resources that might assist to refer the client. This process includes talking with 3rd party bystanders (such as a family member) to ensure a through overview and assessment of the circumstances. PERT Clinicians ensure that appropriate referrals are provided. For example, should the level of appropriate care involve additional assessment for possible treatment at a hospital or crisis stabilization center, the client will be transported by the PERT unit. The PERT Clinician communicates their assessment information to staff  to assist in their further assessment and provision of care.


4.     Does PERT employ peace officers?



5.     Do Law Enforcement agencies hire PERT Clinicians?



6.     If someone were to call 911 and ask for PERT, will PERT always respond?

PERT response depends upon availability due to scheduling and volume of calls pending. Dispatchers will make every effort to dispatch PERT when serious mental health crisis issues are involved.


7.     When requesting PERT services, does PERT always contact the person in crisis?   

       PERT response to a 911 call and the subsequent contact with the person in crisis will be determined by the responding law enforcement agency with considerations for risk to the individual, law enforcement and the public.


8.     Are law enforcement officers who wear a PERT pin clinically trained?

Any PERT training for first responders is not clinical training; rather, it is crisis response management and de-escalation skills training. Law enforcement officers wearing a PERT pin are specially trained by PERT, but are not clinicians.


9.     Do PERT Clinicians de-escalate persons in crisis by first contacting them prior to the officer's contact?

All crisis calls involving PERT Clinicians are first rendered safe by peace officers.


10.   Is verbal de-escalation effective on everyone, every time and in every situation?