Mental Health Law Enforcement

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Law Enforcement and Mental Health “One of my first calls on the MHU (Mental Health Unit) was of a gentleman having a psychotic episode. He had jumped out of my patrol car on the way to the hospital, took off running down the main street, screaming ‘Satan is chasing me God HELP me! Don’t let Satan catch me again!’ all the while he is stripping down to his birthday suit. I can tell you that the mentally ill can be fast and strong when they have these types of episodes. Don’t ever underestimate someone in crisis. You handle these encounters with kid gloves, because, as an officer you never know what you are walking into. The only heads up you may receive is that a citizen may be off their meds, or hearing voices. What starts out as a talking…show more content…
It appears the more that social media develops the more horrific the stories become, but what about an officer’s perspective? The inside stories are hard to come by, as many officers don’t want to talk, either because it is a brotherhood, or the violation of HIPAA laws. In the state of Texas, it is not illegal to be mentally ill, so MHU officers are there, in essence to insure civil rights aren’t violated by a third party or even their peers. In many instances, an officer who is untrained will call upon the MHU to complete an assessment alongside of MHMR. In Denton County, if the patient is being assessed at an ER, in order for an emergency detention to take place, MHMR must call upon the MHU unit. The officer assesses the situation to see that all criteria were met, and the MHU officer is the sole power of any emergency…show more content…
Simple answer is it’s expensive. Even with some government funding for law enforcement, the real problem is where to put them. There are only so many beds in Texas. The closest state hospital is Wichita Falls. Denton County has a contract with Millwood and UBH for holding until a commitment hearing, but there are only a limited amount of beds with that contract as well. A county like Dallas would need a large hospital contract for holding, and with limited beds on a state level, it would cripple the workload for the state. Sherriff William Travis of Denton County offered the following statement: “Awareness is one of my top priorities for this county. We need the state to step up and take responsibility in the mental health field. This past session of legislation we got nothing monetarily for civil beds. Our jail and all others will continue to be the dumping grounds for the mental health patients if there are no other options to

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