Local police, agencies form crisis teams
Downing explained how this partnership of groups now comprises the Criminal Justice/Mental Health Community Collaboration Steering Committee.
Downing said two of the main goals of this new committee are to establish several crisis intervention teams to address the needs of individuals in mental health crisis who come into contact with anyone in the system of agencies. The other goal is to try and establish a mental health court to address the needs of individuals displaying mental illness who have been charged with a crime.
“What we’ve come up with is that we will establish a crisis intervention team,” Downing said. “The police department will have an advisory role in how that is established. The team of professionals will respond to whoever is suffering from the mental crisis, and will determine the appropriate treatment.”
Downing explained the idea for the committee came after seeing a presentation given to Lassen County community members in October 2008 by Reno Police Officer Patrick O’Bryan and Nevada Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie. The presentation addressed the need for crisis intervention teams and mental health courts.
“Both O’Bryan and Leslie have been pioneers in starting and maintaining very successful programs in Reno,” Downing said in his report.
The committee met for the first time on Wednesday, Dec. 3. Other committee meetings have been scheduled in order for the committee to refine its goals, establish objectives and implement program for the community.
Agencies involved in the steering committee include Lassen County Health and Human Services, Lassen County Alcohol and Drug, Banner Lassen Medical Center, Adult Protective Services, The Lassen County Public Defender’s Office, the Lassen County Chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness, Crossroads Ministries, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office and more.
Councilmembers pledged their support for the newly formed committee, with some members expressing their understanding of the new committee’s various uses.
“This is great for the police department,” Mayor Kurt Bonham said. “People will be seeing something other than strictly law enforcement.”
Downing said once the teams are completely formed and once the police department has put together the new protocols involving the teams, everyone would begin extensive training.
Downing also said committees like these generally don’t require much funding, but there are some funding streams available.
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