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Law Enforcement Grappling With Mental Health Calls

City of Reno

Last year alone, Reno Police responded to roughly 2,100 suicide calls along with 730 calls for other mental health concerns. Reporter Rocio Hernandez examines how Northern Nevada is grappling with this issue.

Local law enforcement agencies agree one on thing:

"Putting people behind bars doesn't fix mental health," says Washoe County Sheriff Chuck Allen.

Over in Sparks, the police department is implementing crisis intervention training so that every officer can better understand how to deescalate situations without using force.

The Mobile Outreach Safety Team or MOST is another effort to better serve people suffering from mental illness. It was created in 2009 by Reno Police and Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services. Spark Police Chief Brian Allen says it has since expanded its partners and coverage across the county.

"Mental health professionals are riding with our police officers that have an appearance of a mental health issue to try to get the people that are suffering from mental illness into treatment and compliance."

Allen says the team is looking for additional grant funding to expand the program's hours to include nights and weekends.

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