APD Crisis Team Improves Safety

If you have an emergency, chances are Amarillo officers can respond sooner thanks to a new crisis team.

The Amarillo Police Department is now working with the mentally ill without taking time away from other emergency calls. APD gets about 100 Mental Health Crisis calls each month.

And it has not been until recently officers are trained to handle the calls. In a partnership with the Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation Center, APD now has a Crisis Intervention Team or CIT.

Seven officers are currently on call around the clock to respond to mental health calls.

CIT Corporal Ed Carroll says, "We'll get the call of someone acting strange or acting out or talking to someone who is not there."And APD hopes to have that number up to 10 within the next few weeks.

"Before we would just tell them we don't find a criminal offence and then kind of leave them in that situation. We didn't have any referral you know we'd tell maybe a family member follow up with TPMHMR tomorrow we bring the services to them," says Carroll.

Instead of spending between two and eight hours waiting for help to arrive, TPMHMR is an immediate responder.

Jim Womack of TPMHMR says,"Instead of having to leave and go do something else and wait until the incident escalated now the person can get help. Where in the past the person, the officers might have had to wait until the person committed a crime to either take them to the hospital or take them to jail."

Corporal Carroll tells NewsChannel 10 repeat calls from mental health patients are declining.

For Mental Health Assistance call the TPMHMR at call 359-6699.