Marion County Response to Mental Health Incidents to be State Model

The Oregon Legislature renewed funding for special mental health crisis response teams in Salem and Marion County, and added an additional $7 million to the pot for other counties. The mobile crisis teams work to diffuse messy situations and avoid jailing and arresting people who have a mental health crisis, and the the number of people admitted to the state hospital from the county has dropped steadily.

Lt. Chris Baldrige said that traditionally, the police response to disorderly conduct and public disturbances was to throw the lawbook at the situation, and diffuse the conflict by arresting people so they were out of harm’s way. “We were utilizing our laws to fix the problem.”

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