Wednesday the Marshall County Commission approved new community mental health officers to assist law enforcement on calls.
"It adds a layer of protection for law enforcement and that individual," said Probate Judge Andrea Lecroy.
Lecroy spoke at Wednesday's Marshall County Commission meeting to advocate for adding mental health officers to assist law enforcement. The measure passed and now 9 marshall county law enforcement agencies have access to 5 mental health officers ready to help.
"Our main goal is to make sure folks that have a need whether it's mental health or substance abuse can get that need met through a treatment program rather than being locked up in a jail," said Myron Gargis, Executive Director Mountain Lakes Behavioral Healthcare.
Jeremy Burrage is one of the mental health officers. For a while he was the only one. Now, he's got a team.
"After the courthouse closes at 4:30 the mental health officers kick in and we cover all the way until 8 o'clock the next morning," explained Burrage.
The program used to be volunteer but now its through mountain lakes behavioral and they pay the officers.
Its still at no cost to the county. Each officer has their masters and is an experienced therapist passionate about what they do.
"We enjoy working in cooperation with law enforcement those assessment services," said Burrage.
The training to be a mental health officer is hands on. The new officers have already gone on multiple calls with law enforcement and with the official go ahead from the county commission Wednesday they're ready to work. During the day while the mental health officers are not on call law enforcement will contact the probate court. The probate court can then contact family for a petition to commit the person if needed.