Decatur police adding mental health liaison to department

That person will assist officers who go out to calls and need assistance for people who may be dealing with a mental crisis.

Posted: Aug 17, 2021 5:47 PM
Updated: Aug 18, 2021 3:12 PM

The Decatur Police Department is adding a new member to its department.

For the first time the department is looking for a mental health liaison.

That person will assist officers who go out to calls and need assistance with people who may be dealing with a mental crisis.

The liaison will also train officers on how to deal with those kind of calls and develop partnerships within the city with different mental health organizations.

Police Chief Nate Allen says it’s exactly what the department needs right now.

"Oftentimes a police officer is not the best person suited to handle the call, and that's especially when it comes to mental health issues and needs from our citizens," Allen said.

"If we partnered with a mental health person who is a professional, who's able to go out there and able to talk with a citizen who's in a mental health crisis, help them to get back on their medication if that's the case or help them to solve their mental health issue, then a police officer won't be needed," he said.

Right now the department is only hiring one liaison, but Allen says depending on how things go it may hire more.

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