Mental Health Professionals to Follow Kearney and Buffalo County Police Calls Soon | Crime and courts


Miller said the Buffalo County Jail already has a mental health professional on staff. He said that next year, a nationwide emergency calling system similar to 911 will give people in crisis the ability to contact mental health professionals for help.

The local COPS grant of $ 250,000 is the only community outreach and policing grant the Department of Justice awarded in Nebraska on Monday. In total, the Department of Justice announced grants of $ 33 million to launch co-advocate programs, help with diversity and inclusion training, and help legal agencies experiment with innovative policing strategies.

Baxter, who has been a behavioral health professional for more than 30 years in Kearney, said the co-advocate program will elevate law enforcement and mental health services in the area.

“We will have a group of therapists who will help the police with mental health calls,” she said. “It’s a model that has been used all over the United States, and communities have had good success with it. It is early intervention when a person has a mental health crisis.

Baxter said she sees a growing need for behavioral health services. This was evident after the 2019 floods, when people were traumatized by the loss of their homes and belongings. Mental health issues have also increased during the pandemic, she said.


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