Hockley County’s new Crisis Intervention Team will help first responders with mental health calls
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Hockley County Sheriff’s Department and Levelland Police Department have a new Crisis Intervention Team that will focus on mental health.
The new program has been in the works for nearly six years and is finally up and running in Hockley County. Bobby Carter Director of Diversion Programs at StarCare says it will help people get the help they need instead of being arrested.
“The plan is to have a co-responder clinician which is a qualified mental health professional riding along in the officer’s car as part of a two-person until to respond to these situations,” Carter said.
Those situations may include threats of suicide, homicide, or any other symptoms resulting from mental health. Hockley County Sheriff Ray Scifres says the team will assess and then divert the crisis.
Scifres says, “The type of calls that officers respond to, there are individuals who call in a mental health crisis, they don’t know who else to call.”
Scifres says this has been an issue for officers for quite some time, but deputies and officers are not specifically trained to handle mental health-related problems. Often times these situations lead to handcuffs when the individual actually needs a doctor.
“Some cases will end up under arrest, but some can be diverted away because this is something related to possible medication that they aren’t taking, it could be something with a situation where they have not been diagnosed,” Scifres said.
Both departments report a large number of crisis-related calls. Officer Dakota Moody, who serves on the team, says it can make a difference.
Moody says, “Right now we get an X amount of calls...I want them to go down because I want these people to get the help that they need.”
While the program is only a few months old, both agencies report great success. More than half of the mental health calls have been diverted and have not ended in arrest.
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