Tuscaloosa agencies add officers with mental health training
The Tuscaloosa News - 6/26/2019
Jun. 26--Tuscaloosa's law enforcement agencies are adding four officers with special training to work with members of the community who have mental health issues.
Tuscaloosa Probate Judge Rob Robertson announced the partnership between his office, the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office and the Northport, Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama police departments on Tuesday.
"This program is effective and works," Robertson said. As probate judge, he conducts the involuntary commitment hearings required before someone is placed in custody of Alabama Department of Mental Health.
"We have seen the value by working with law enforcement personnel to more rapidly assist those in need of mental health services."
The four new officers -- one with each agency -- will join the three existing mental health officers, bringing the total working countywide to seven.
Officers will respond to emergency situations and evaluate the mental health issues of people involved, providing more support for those with mental illness in the community, Robertson said.
The officers will continue their normal law enforcement duties in addition to providing mental health services.
"Having someone within each agency will be very beneficial," said TCSO Deputy Keith Fair. "This is a great partnership for our community. It will also give us more resources and help for the mental health community."
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