Jefferson City Police Face Rise in Mental Health Calls

3 years 9 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, February 26 2014 Feb 26, 2014 Wednesday, February 26, 2014 11:17:00 AM CST February 26, 2014 in News
By: Madison Conklin, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department is facing a problem that is taking multiple officers off of the streets at least multiple times a week. This is an issue the JCPD said it has dealt with for many years, however, recently it has seen an increase.

The problem is the number of mental health issue calls officers are taking. 

In 2012 the JCPD handled 323 suicide calls alone--that number does not include other mental health calls. The department completed 97 mental health transports, meaning an officer accompanies the subject call to the hospital or health center, even if it is as far away as Joplin. In 2013, it handled 368 suicide calls, not including other mental health calls, and completed 124 mental health transports.

Jefferson City police have recently started working with St. Mary's Hospital to work out a system for the center to take involuntary commitments. An involuntary commitment is an individual needing evaluation because of some mental health crisis. The involuntary commitment is given by a judge's order, and with that order, the police department is able to take the individual into custody and drive him or her to the nearest treatment facility.

Taking involuntary commitments is a new task for St. Mary's Hospital, and a work in progress between the police department and St. Mary's. Due to lack of bed space, individuals suffering from mental health issues have to be taken to other hospitals with open bed space. If the individual has not had an evaluation done yet, he or she must be evaluated and then be transported by ambulance along with the officer to a hospital with open space.  

The captain of operations with the Jefferson City Police Department, Robert Clark, said, "In the past we have never had any place to take involuntary commitments. A lot of the times, the issues we had to deal with, we'd have to go up to Columbia, or if beds were full, we've been as far as St. Louis and Joplin, Mo."  

These calls can take officers off of the road anywhere from two to ten or more hours. It is all dependent upon what mental health facilities have space and if they are able to commit the individual. Many times individuals suffering from mental health issues fall through the cracks and the JCPD will take the same person numerous times to the hospital. 

"The whole issue with the police department and law enforcement that is very taxing on our system is there are officers spending an inordinate amount of time having to deal with individuals that need help or are in crisis," said Clark.

The problem has not gone unnoticed. The Missouri Coalition of Community Health Centers, an advocacy group for outpatient mental health treatment centers, knows there is insufficient inpatient bed space throughout the state of Missouri, and realizes bed space is often full in Jefferson City. A lack of funding poses many problems for the coalition. 

Brent McGinty, CEO of the group, said, "One of the ways we can solve that is through Medicaid expansion."

For the 2015 fiscal year, the coalition requested $530 million for community services in the governor's budget. McGinty said Medicaid expansion would fund another $98 million in needed services.  But so far, the Missouri General Assembly has resisted expansion, defeating proposals to do so last year and opposing similar proposals so far this year.

 Last year the coalition started an initiative program to help combat the mental health issue. This was funded in the governor's budget and supported by the general assembly. The initiative program would start seven pilot sites throughout the state to demonstrate new ideas on how to move people from the inpatient beds to the community faster. It also put thirty mental health liaisons across the state of Missouri who work with law enforcement, judges and treatment courts in their communities.

"We need to have better linkages between community mental health centers and that capacity to move people off those wards and into community treatment and stable housing in a faster way," said McGinty. 

Two of the initiative programs have already been implemented in St. Louis and Kansas City, and more are underway in Jefferson City, Southwest Missouri and Northeast Missouri. The immediate goal for the coalition is to find additional funding to let providers of mental health care staff up and continue services. 

 

More News

Grid
List
NEW BLOOMFIELD - A two-vehicle car wreck Saturday left one dead and two others injured, according to the Missouri State... More >>
30 minutes ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 8:15:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – A six-year-old held a hot chocolate stand Saturday outside of a Hy-Vee in Jefferson City to help two... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 6:51:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Wyss Medical Foundation donated $2 million to the Missouri Orthapaedic Institute for the work of lead orthopaedic... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 5:05:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- On Friday, the Columbia Police Department inducted eight new recruits, the largest class of officers in years. The... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 4:03:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
JACKSONVILLE - An estimated 400 people attended a wreath laying ceremony Saturday at the Jacksonville State Veterans Cemetery. It... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 3:31:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Graduation day is long awaited by many and Amy Kiso Bledsoe is no exception. Bledsoe was... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 2:47:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — As Missouri struggles with the epidemic of opioid abuse, no place in the state has been... More >>
7 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 1:10:14 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - A furnace malfunction caused a fire in a trailer home on Pratherville Road Saturday morning. Gale... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 12:05:48 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — People returning to Kansas City after being released from prison will get a 90-day supply... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 11:25:12 AM CST December 16, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Firefighters responded to a shed fire off of Highway 40 near Rocheport Saturday morning. Boone County... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 10:04:00 AM CST December 16, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Officials with the University of Missouri-Kansas City say students will soon have access to state-of-the-art... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 8:16:45 AM CST December 16, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Cat cafes have popped up across the world in cities including New York City, London and Tokyo, and... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 7:36:00 AM CST December 16, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Some Jefferson City kids are getting the chance at a Merry Christmas this year with the help... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 12:00:00 AM CST December 16, 2017 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Missouri State Highway Patrol has confirmed it has fired Trooper Anthony Piercy. KOMU 8 spoke to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 8:42:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - St. Louis officers arrested a suspect that was on the run in a duplex on Sears Court in... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 8:29:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The application for the top education position in the state, Missouri State Education Board Commissioner, opened Friday leaving... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 8:02:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
BLUE SPRINGS (AP) — A commercial real estate records company based in suburban Kansas City has abruptly shut down, leaving... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 7:42:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department say a house fire that killed a cat Friday afternoon started in the kitchen.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 7:29:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 45°
9pm 48°
10pm 47°
11pm 44°
12am 43°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

8:00p
Dateline NBC
9:00p
Saturday Night Live
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Will & Grace
7:30p
Superstore
8:00p
Dateline NBC
9:00p
Saturday Night Live
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld