Brunswick Police Chief Scott Stewart, left, Sweetser’s Senior Director of Crisis Services Jessica LeBlanc and Michael Maudlin, the area’s new mental health liaison for law enforcement. Contributed / Sweetser

Area law enforcement’s new mental health liaison Michael Maudlin says his role is to get the right resources to people in crisis and get police officers “back on the road to handle the calls they’re trained for.”

“Ideally, we get them help and get the right direction for them, and then hopefully it will be a smoother lifestyle for that person in crisis,” Maudlin said.

He is based at the Brunswick Police Department but will also go out on calls with law officers and follow up on cases in Bath, Topsham and elsewhere in Sagadahoc County. The agencies partnered with nonprofit mental health care provider Sweetser for the new program.

Maudlin said that people in the middle of a mental health crisis ideally would call the Maine crisis line rather than the police, who are not trained to provide the level or care and service that may be needed. But police often must respond to crisis calls.

“The hope is to be that bridge and connection,” Maudlin said, and free up officers to focus on their jobs enforcing the law.

Brunswick Police Chief Scott Stewart said having a full-time liaison who can connect and follow up with people in need is important.


“It’s one thing to say, ‘you need to get some help,’ but it’s another to say, ‘you need some help, and we have the person for that’,” he said.

A liaison role is also helpful in understanding what qualifies as a mental health crisis rather than “someone just having a bad day,” Stewart said.

Sweetser has provided mental health liaisons to work in many capacities, but police work is new to them.

“This is our first mental health liaison embedded in a law enforcement agency,” said Justin Chenette, Sweetser’s senior director of public relations. “This partnership is a good example of where it could be used across the state and country to address a lot of the mental health challenges that folks are facing.”

Maudlin, who has a background in both mental health care and law enforcement, said he will respond to calls with officers, and other times will go on his own if he has worked with the person in crisis before or if they are not seen as a threat.

“I listen, and by listening I find out what they think they need, and then I may be helpful in giving some options, and then I follow up with them,” he said.


This interest and ongoing investment in their well-being “provides a sense of safety,” he said.

“If I can give them a menu, they may feel like the first time in their lives that they have a choice, and they aren’t being sent somewhere,” Maudlin said. “Many people just want to know that someone cares.”

The liaison’s position is being funded from the $235 million settlement the state received in the national opioid lawsuits.

“The bridge between substance abuse and mental health overlap, and that’s why this is beneficial as well,” Stewart said. “The fact that all these relationships are established before we need them makes it easy.”

“It’s the best use of these funds to send back out in our community to provide critical services that address the crisis we are currently experiencing,” said Sagadahoc County Sherriff Joel Merry.

Sweetser also has “options liaisons” in Maine who connect people with substance abuse resources.

Brunswick will continue to evaluate the success of the new program to determine how to proceed going forward.

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