Maine State Police on Tuesday announced major structural changes that officials said will offer more timely responses to calls and improve services for Maine residents.

During a news conference in Augusta, Col. John Cote and Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said the reorganization includes creating a midnight or overnight shift. Currently, troopers take turns being on-call at night.

“We believe that the creation of an overnight shift will provide an expedited response to critical calls from the public during the overnight,” Cote said in a statement. “This will also provide vital support for the health and wellness of our troopers. This change is simply the first evolution that will allow the agency to be much more agile in making on-going adjustments based on the changing demands of the public safety environment.”

In addition, Cote said, funds from the governor’s supplemental budget will be used to hire five behavioral health specialists.

“The behavioral health specialists will serve as liaison to the troopers in the field and help people in need of services,” Cote said. “These specialists will coordinate with resource providers and law enforcement to better deliver services and connect those struggling with mental health crisis, substance use disorder, elder abuse, homelessness and domestic or family violence.”

The reorganization also reduces the number of state police troops from eight to six. Cote said reorganization should have minimal impact on day-to-day operations.

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