Mobile behavioral health crisis services help law enforcement

Mobile Behavioral Health
Mobile Behavioral Health(KFYR-TV)
Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 8:48 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Police Officers dedicate their lives to protecting and serving our communities, but sometimes they need more tools in their toolboxes to help those going through a behavioral health crisis. That’s where the North Dakota Department of Human Services comes in to help.

When dispatch receives a call, police are first on the scene.

“It’s our job to, you know, find the solution to that problem,” adding that sometimes, “these individuals don’t need to go to jail, they need professional help,” said Bismarck Police Department Deputy Chief of Field Services, Randy Ziegler.

They can now find that help through the North Dakota Department of Human Service’s Mobile Behavioral Health Crisis Service.

”What I really like about this is that they actually come out to the scene and we can deal with it  immediately,” said Ziegler, “it’s really made it a lot easier for our officers as we look for alternatives to incarceration.”

The Human Services Center has worked to enhance their crisis services for several years.

”Part of the enhancing,” said Regional Director of West Central Human Services Center, Brad Brown, “was adding mobile crisis services, a little bit more of a mobile outreach 24/7, 356.”

The statewide effort was approved during the last legislative session and started rolling out in the spring.

”We’d like to see increased calls to us and decreased calls to folks going into jail, or going into in-patient hospitals,” said Brown.

A move that’s benefited everyone involved

Deputy Chief Ziegler said, “this whole process, I think, is good for our community, I think it’s good for the city of Bismarck, I think it’s good for law enforcement and I think it’s good for mental health professionals.”

Brown says the next step is to increase their presence in rural areas.

Anyone in crisis can dial 211 and FirstLink will connect you with a mental health professional in your area.

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