A committee recommends police partner with mental health experts
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Experts in law enforcement and civil rights organizers came together to analyze police oversight and accountability within the Commonwealth.
This report touches on areas within law enforcement that could improve. One area is working with people in a mental health crisis.
Danny Vargas, the chairman of the committee, says society expects law enforcement to be too many things at once. But he says bringing in a mental health expert to calls could help in a lot of situations.
“So that law enforcement isn’t the exclusive agent for dealing with those things in the moment. I think those partnerships would be well suited for what we’re seeing more and more in too many incidents today is that there really ought to be resources that our experts in the field of mental health would be able to ameliorate and turn the temperature down in some instances,” he said.
Vargas says law enforcement is often trained to contain an incident whereas mental health calls are not black and white, they are often grey. Vargas says by partnering with mental health experts, it helps out every person involved.
“Frankly it’s not fair to law enforcement officers to be expected to be all things to all people. It’s also not fair to those folks that are involved in situations when law enforcement comes in and do what they are typically trained to do which is to contain a situation,” said Vargas.
Examples of this partnership would be if Charlottesville Police Department and Region Ten worked together through mental health emergency calls.