Richardson October 2020

PUBLIC SAFETY Police department prepares to launchmental health crisis team

BY OLIVIA LUECKEMEYER

their top ve problems, I can assure you that mental health will be at the top or in that list of ve,” he said. Central to Richardson’s program is the integration of follow-up visits, Tittle said. After an interaction with police, members of the Crisis Intervention Team will partner with health care professionals at Methodist Richardson Medical Center to learn more about the person. If another incident occurs, ocers will have a better understanding of their situation, Tittle said. Council Member Ken Hutchenrider, who is also the president of the hos- pital, said he felt a great deal of pride when the department approached his sta with this proposal. “The commitment, the thought- fulness and the approach that is being taken is something we should all be incredibly proud of because these people need help,” he said.

The Richardson Police Department will soon have a team of ocers ded- icated to addressing mental health issues in the community. The department has seen a high volume of calls related to mental illness, Assistant Chief Gary Tittle told City Council at a Sept. 21 meet- ing. Last year, ocers responded to 318 calls for service coded as mental health crises. Between January and June 30 of this year, the department responded to 152 calls of this nature, according to Tittle. The issue of mental health is pervasive in the United States, Tittle said. It is estimated that between 30%-40% of police interactions nationwide involve individuals aected by mental illness, he added. “If you were to talk to the top ocials in most municipal police departments and ask them to list

The goal of the initiative is to get ahead of calls to the police department that stem from a mental health issue. (Courtesy Richardson Police Department) RPD CRISIS INTERVENTION TEAM The newly formed team is the result of a partnership between the police department and Methodist Richardson Medical Center. It will include the following.

School resource ocers 3 Patrol ocers 13

Sergeants 2

nurse 1

Social worker 1

Registered

SOURCE: RICHARDSON POLICE DEPARTMENTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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