Innovations and collaborations in public safety
In 2014, Johnson County was named one of eight highly effective justice systems in the United States by the MacArthur Foundation. We remain on the cutting edge as each year we continue our forward-thinking and collaborative approach to criminal justice. 2022 was no different as several new initiatives and innovative approaches moved forward our criminal justice system.
Moving forward through…
…launching new and planning upcoming efforts
A team from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Johnson County Mental Health Center and our technology experts worked together to develop a Johnson County Stepping Up dashboard. Launched in March 2022, it tracks the effectiveness of mental health services provided to individuals incarcerated in our community. Along with Johnson County’s participation in the Stepping Up Initiative, the dashboard continues our commitment to building a justice system that improves outcomes for those in need of mental health support.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Criminalistics Laboratory continued to provide forensic services to its contributing agencies, staying on top of changes in technology. A new quality system, Qualtrax, was implemented in 2022 to give the laboratory an all-in-one platform to improve the tracking of the laboratory’s quality and compliance systems. Forensic services were rendered to 34 law enforcement agencies in 2022.
The Department of Corrections has been collecting data since 2008 to address juvenile delinquency prevention and system improvement efforts designed to reduce the disproportionate number of juvenile minorities encountering the local juvenile justice system, otherwise referred to as Disproportionate Minority Contact. In 2022, Corrections created and filled the new position of DMC Coordinator, who is overseeing this effort with a target population of youth aged 10 to 17, including all genders, races and ethnicities.
One new effort got off the ground late in 2022. Johnson County received a federal grant in October to begin planning for the development of a Mental Health Court to reduce the likelihood of people with severe mental illness returning to the criminal justice system. Incarcerated individuals with mental illness spend an average of 21 days in jail and are at higher risk of physical illness and death. The primary goals of the Mental Health Court will be to increase public safety, increase engagement with treatment, improve quality of life and use resources more effectively.
…growing along with our community
The District Attorney’s office has continued to work on reducing the backlog of 2,000 cases created by the pandemic. Over the last year the Office was able to make significant progress in eliminating the backlog. In 2022 the Kansas Supreme Court approved the adding of three new judges in Johnson County. The county provided the D.A.’s office with additional resources to handle these expanded responsibilities.
Planning was done in 2022 on a new MED-ACT station in Shawnee near Midland Drive and Bell Road. The location will serve more than 70,000 residents in the north central part of Johnson County in the communities of Lenexa, Shawnee and Lake Quivira.
…leveraging strong partnerships
In February 2022, several county partners came together to launch the Reentry Project to support individuals experiencing a mental illness during their transition back into the community from incarceration. That transition can be significantly more daunting for individuals experiencing a mental illness, so it’s important for them to receive support to be as healthy and successful as possible. A part of Johnson County’s participation in the Stepping Up Initiative, these reentry services are critical to helping individuals transition back into the community and reducing recidivism rates.
The Emergency Communications Center continued to work with Johnson County Mental Health Center to house 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline services and staff in the County Communications Center. A designated workspace has been identified and work continues to ensure the space accommodates the confidential nature of this work.
…being a model for other communities
In November 2022, Johnson County was selected as one of four inaugural Familiar Faces Initiative Peer-Learning Sites. We will serve as national model for our innovative health and justice data systems. The Familiar Faces Initiative models how data is used to coordinate care for individuals with health and behavioral health conditions. These individuals are considered “familiar faces” who frequently cycle through jails, homeless shelters, emergency departments and other crisis services.
As a peer learning site, Johnson County will share its innovative approach with the Familiar Faces network through calls, presentations, events and a community message board. It will also host in-person site visits April 12-13, 2023.