Metro hiring crisis intervention specialists

Metro plans to hire several crisis intervention specialists in the coming months, the agency announced Wednesday. 

They will be paired with Metro Transit police officers or operating staff members and will respond to patrons who have mental health disorders or developmental disabilities. 

A job description shared on WMATA's website mentions the specialist should be trained in mental health awareness and de-escalation methods and have at least a high school diploma. 

Duties also include providing non-clinical crisis counseling to the homeless community, serving as a liaison to behavioral health and social services organizations, participating in community-violence reduction efforts, and assisting in medical emergencies at stations, among other tasks. 

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The Metro Transit Police Department said its seen a 40% increase in people in need of mental health assistance since the pandemic. The agency said that while its officers are equipped to aid the public, they are not counselors or therapists. 

In a statement, Metro General Manager Randy Clarke said: "We’ve been listening to customers over the past two months, and it’s clear that a better, safer customer experience is paramount to rebuilding ridership and customer trust. The steps we are taking are part of a larger framework that enhances the work MTPD is already implementing to improve Metro daily."

Since the pandemic, MTPD has seen a 40 percent increase in people in need of mental health assistance. While officers are there to aid the public, they are not trained mental health experts. These new civilian roles will work with MTPD and Operating staff to provide the appropriate crisis response and community resources.

"We’ve been listening to customers over the past two months, and it’s clear that a better, safer customer experience is paramount to rebuilding ridership and customer trust," said GM and Chief Executive Officer Randy Clarke. "The steps we are taking are part of a larger framework that enhances the work MTPD is already implementing to improve Metro daily."

Anyone interested in the crisis intervention specialist position can apply via wmata.com/careers.