It is not uncommon for individuals suffering from mental illness or in an emotional crisis to have contact with law enforcement. In partnership with Washington County Mental Health, the Sheriff's Office provides mental health services that begin on patrol, continue in the jail, and are available to individuals when they reenter the community.
Specialized Training for Deputies
All deputies receive a three-day crisis intervention training. Our deputies are also trained to recognize when a person is a danger to themselves or others and needs to be taken to a medical facility (police officer hold). Deputies on the Mental Health Response Team (MHRT) receive advanced crisis intervention training.
Mental Health Response Team
The MHRT includes a deputy and clinician from the Mental Health Crisis Team paired together in a patrol car. This unique program offers optimum care to those in need – a rapid response from a skilled deputy and immediate intervention with an experienced clinician. As a team, there is more opportunity for problem solving on scene and minimizing the risk of a situation escalating. In addition to responding to the immediate crisis, the team also provides follow-up with individuals to ensure they are getting connected to the services and support they need.
In 2019, MHRT responded to over 4,800 calls for service. The partnership also includes a dedicated sergeant that supervises the team and participates in the development of training and protocols for response, and ensures coordination between the departments. MHRT also responds to mental health calls in cities throughout the county, as well as to unincorporated neighborhoods and rural areas within the Washington County, providing assistance to persons in crisis.