By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Hutchinson Police Chief Jeff Hooper let the Hutchinson City Council know how the Crisis Response Team is doing so far at their meeting Tuesday.
"That crisis response team went on line last Thursday on April 1," Hooper said. "When we were working with Horizons, originally they were talking about a part time person, but they were able to secure a grant. They were able to, initially, at the inception of that program, give us a full time person from Horizons and promised us a second full time person in the near future. That was a big boost."
The new staff is already meeting needs.
"We've already seen successes in that," Hooper said. "They've responded to multiple calls for service for people in crisis. They were able to de-escalate a specific situation, alleviate that crisis and get that person to services at the hospital and not tie up other law enforcement resources on the street."
In addition, they can help fewer calls come in to dispatch from those with mental illness.
"We have a lady in the community that's really suffering, in and out of crisis and kind of losing touch with what's really going on, calling in people breaking in to her home and being assaulted and things that aren't true," Hooper said. "She was tying up emergency services resources, both us, the fire department, EMS, to the tune of over a dozen calls in a week, so we were able to send our crisis response team out there to meet with her. We've got her connected with services. We're working with her and trying to get her to a productive member of the community and since that time over the weekend, we haven't had one additional call from her."
Hooper intends to give periodic reports on the team to the City Council at least once every quarter.