Mental Health Professionals to Follow Kearney, Buffalo County Police Calls Soon | Local News
According to the Justice Department, a behavioral health professional will be “on-board” at the Kearney / Buffalo County Law Enforcement Center during peak hours. Professionals will be on call the rest of the day to respond to the need.
A partner in the grant application, Region III Behavioral Services, will receive $ 50,000.
Region III administrator Beth Baxter said co-responders would help some judicial officers cope with potentially explosive situations. Having a licensed behavioral health professional on hand means that it may be possible to ‘talk’ to the person in crisis and then bring them back to their family or to a place where they will get the help they need. .
Baxter said officers will face fewer cases when deciding whether to place someone in emergency preventive detention.
KPD chief Bryan Waugh said an EPC ruling essentially puts the person in crisis under arrest, but does not necessarily take them to where they will receive good help.
“Mental health is a big challenge for law enforcement,” Waugh said.
With the co-responder program, it is hoped that mental health crises can be treated and brought under control, freeing up MPs and officers to respond to other emergencies.
Baxter said legal agencies across the country are adopting co-sponsor programs. They are already present in Omaha and in Douglas County. The Buffalo County co-sponsors will be Nebraska’s only program outside of the Omaha metro area.