Beth Loftus is the Rockville City Police Department’s new mental health specialist. She started in her newly created role on March 13 in an office at the police station on West Montgomery Avenue. We asked her a few questions to get to know her better and learn more about her new role.
You have an important job as part of the city’s — and police department’s — new mental health initiative. Tell us more about it.
As RCPD’s first mental health specialist, I am assigned to the Special Operations Division. My role is to serve as a resource when police officers encounter people in the community with mental health issues. That includes assisting officers in identifying how to best serve individuals and families, and connect them with resources provided by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
Where were you before coming to work for the City of Rockville?
For the past 10 years, I have been a clinical therapist at the Montgomery County Crisis Center on Piccard Drive. I functioned in a variety of capacities and assisted individuals and families with, among other things, homelessness, domestic violence, Montgomery County Public Schools school referrals and mental health evaluations.
I was a member of the Montgomery County Mobile Crisis Team, which provides a mental health professional 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to partner with police, when necessary, in responding to psychiatric emergencies. The team provides crisis evaluation and recommends treatment and resources.
I also serve as a crisis intervention instructor for the Montgomery County Crisis Intervention Training program, educating law enforcement about mental health issues. (Editor’s note: Beth was named the Montgomery County Crisis Intervention Instructor of the Year in 2019.)
What did you study to be able to do what you do?
I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in sociology, from Catholic University and earned a master’s in clinical counseling and a post-master’s certificate in play therapy from John Hopkins University. In the past 10-plus years, my focus has been in training around crisis intervention, suicide prevention and de-escalation. I continue to educate myself to stay current with best practices and updated research.
Anything else we should know?
I am a Montgomery County native and am invested in providing mental health services and resources to the Rockville community. I am excited about this new opportunity to partner with RCPD and increase access to much needed mental health resources. I look forward to being a part of this new initiative and watching it grow.