The story reports that historically “the police were repeatedly arresting the same people; many not only had a serious mental illness but were also addicted to drugs or alcohol, and were often homeless. And whether they went to the jail or the ER, it was expensive for everyone — the jails, the hospitals and the police department that had to pay for overtime while cops waited at the hospital.”
Police officers in San Antonio now participate in Crisis Intervention Training – intensive training in handling mental health crises.
And the officers have another tool, a mental and physical health center where they can take individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
“’People who fund these services only look at their little, small piece of the pie and whether there is a return on investment,’ says Leon Evans, who directs the city’s mental health department.”
“So, with the help of a county judge, Evans worked to get the funders together to talk about the money they were all spending on mental health. Once they stopped looking at mental health as an isolated expense, the groups realized they were spending enormous sums of money and offering poor care. Pooling their resources instead, they found, could offer significant savings.”