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Colorado Enunciates Progressive Reform Measures to Handle 911 Calls While the rest of the world was busy welcoming the New Year, it was the beginning of a nightmare for Gracie Parrish, still trying to come to terms with the death of her 29-year-old husband Zackari Parrish. Working as the Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy, he was killed in the line of duty while responding to a 911 call on the very first day of 2018. For most police officers, one of the toughest tasks is responding to a mental health call, primarily because they are not equipped to psychologically deal with mentally disturbed adults threatening to harm themselves or others. Following the tragic incident, there has been a change in the approach of the law enforcement agencies toward 911 calls. The shooter, 37year-old Matthew Riehl, had a history of erratic behavior. The person who called 911 said that Riehl had been acting in a bizarre manner and could actually be undergoing a mental breakdown. As such, a mental breakdown is characterized by aggressiveness and inability to control random thoughts and actions. As the authorities ambushed his apartment, Riehl lost all control and fired 100 shots from his apartment at Highlands Ranch, killing Parrish and injuring three of his colleagues before the special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team finally gunned him down. Prior to this incident, Riehl, an Iraq war veteran with honorable discharge, had posted critical remarks about the law enforcement and his law professors at the University of Wyoming. The officials from the campus had informed the Lone Tree police that Riehl’s rants were an indication of a disturbed mind. In addition, security had been increased on the campus and students were asked to notify the authorities in case they saw him. Unfortunately, not much could be done on this front due to legal restraints. The recent change in the law prohibits the arrest of a person for mental health evaluation if he or she was not making immediate threats. Changes in approach toward handling 911 calls

www.coloradomentalhealthhelp.com


To create a system more responsive to mental health problems, Senate Bill 207 focusing on the system of using prisons as correctional facilities and allocation of additional resources was passed in Colorado. It has set aside $7 million for meeting the requirements of mental health services. The amount will be used for providing appropriate training to law enforcement officers and deputies across the state. It will also be utilized for creating two-person mobile crisis teams to ensure liaison between police and mental health professionals. Also in the pipeline is the provision to provide access to facilities for “crisis management� 24 hours a day. Experts believe that such interventions will make a huge difference in the domain of mental health by preventing cases like that of Riehl. Some other changes are also in the pipeline. The Denver Police Department, for example, has plans to increase the number of clinicians to 20. Moreover, six mental health professionals accompany police officers when they attend SOS calls they are ill-equipped to handle. This helps in diffusing a volatile situation, evident from fact that only 3 percent of the 1,200 calls that mental health clinicians attended last year along with police resulted in an arrest. In addition, nearly 300 people were referred for mental health treatment. In Los Angeles and Seattle, where it is a customary for mental health care professionals to accompany deputies, the number of violent interactions with the law enforcement has significantly gone down. In addition, there has been a drastic decrease in the number of arrests. Commenting on the importance of a social worker or a mental health care professional during 911 calls, Chris Richardson, program manager of the Crisis Intervention Response Unit, stated that the presence of people trained in handling people grappling with mental health issues elicit a positive response. Road to recovery The tragic Colorado killing again raises the question whether enough has been done for increasing awareness about mental illnesses. Most mental disorders can be controlled through timely interventions. Rather than stigmatizing psychiatric disorders, the need of the hour is to treat them like any chronic disease. If you know someone suffering from any form of mental illness, contact the Colorado Mental Health Help to seek information on mental health treatment centers in Colorado. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-899-5063 to know more about the best mental health rehab in and around Colorado.

www.coloradomentalhealthhelp.com

Colorado Enunciates Progressive Reform Measures to Handle 911 Calls  

While the rest of the world was busy welcoming the New Year, it was the beginning of a nightmare for Gracie Parrish, still trying to come to...

Colorado Enunciates Progressive Reform Measures to Handle 911 Calls  

While the rest of the world was busy welcoming the New Year, it was the beginning of a nightmare for Gracie Parrish, still trying to come to...

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