Mental health officers with Pharr Police Department discuss impact on community
Mental health officers with the Pharr Police Department have responded to 19 emergency situations since the Mental Health Unit was started three months ago.
The officers’ responsibilities are to deescalate emergency situations, which, in turn reduce chances of injuries or death.
The most recent case was just last week, when an armed man barricaded himself in his home after firing several rounds at officers.
“I got called out as a negotiator first and my main job was to talk to the person, find out what actually was happening,” said Mental Health Officer Jacklyn Rodriguez.
Rodriguez called the man inside, and offered support. She learned the man was depressed and going through a crisis. Eventually, officers were able to get the man out and take him to get help.
“It was a really good outcome for everybody to see that no injuries happened for officers and the person going through that crisis,” Rodriguez said.
Since December, members of MHU have followed up to 48 crisis cases. Today, officers hope to encourage other Rio Grande Valley police departments to adapt effective crisis intervention policing.