Mission Police Dept. Taking Proactive Approach to Handle Mentally Ill
MISSION – Mission police wants to make sure your loved ones with mental illness are cared for properly.
They are asking families whose loved ones have a mental illness to fill out a survey. This information will be given to officers when responding to an emergency call, so they will know how to handle the situation.
This move is completely voluntary.
Lucia Leo-Diaz, a mental health practitioner, said this is a move in the right direction. She said she's seen many cases where officers who have come across the mentally ill end in disaster.
"We watch the news, we read the paper, we hear stories about tragedies that could have and should have been prevented," said Leo-Diaz.
Mission Police Chief Robert Dominguez said he knows all too well how complex these calls can get.
"Some of these situations are very volatile when it comes to dealing with the mentally ill, and I think it's important for our officers to have that information available to them beforehand,” he says.
Dominguez said they get about 10 to 15 calls every week dealing with people with mental health illnesses.
"Our city has seen a tremendous growth in population, but with that also you see the growth in these types of calls with the mentally ill," he said.
Dominguez is urging family members to tell them about their loved ones with mental health illnesses. He said this way when they respond to calls their officers will know how to act.
"That information will then be relayed to the officers via our laptop, computer systems in our cars to advise the officer of the condition of the particular individual," he explained.
Leo-Diaz hopes other departments take note. She said she doesn't want to see one of the people she cares for get hurt.
The following are a few of the questions they are looking to have answered:
- What illnesses your loved one currently has?
- Are they currently prescribed medication for their illness?
- Do they have a history of aggressive behavior?
Dominguez said the information will be securely maintained at their communications center.
For more information, you can head over to their city's website.