Crisis worker responds to mental health calls alongside Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office in new pilot program

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WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wisconsin (CBS 58) – A crisis worker will respond to emergency mental health calls in Waukesha County.

The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office said the pilot program was designed to limit law enforcement’s role with people suffering from a mental health crisis. Instead, a mental health professional will be able to provide their expertise on site.

“So when 911 calls regarding a mental health crisis come in, this mental health professional will immediately deploy to the community,” said Waukesha County Social Services Coordinator Jennifer Wrucke.

The grant-funded position allows a crisis worker to be on-site with law enforcement, gathering real-time information rather than catching up later.

“This mental health professional will do a clinical risk assessment and work with the person in crisis and develop an immediate safety plan,” Wrucke said.

Wrucke said the Waukesha Department of Health and Human Services predicts local law enforcement will respond to more than 700 mental health calls this year.

“Their assessments are done faster, they are on site earlier, and as soon as they can determine that the appropriate resources can be provided, we hope that will take the pressure off law enforcement sooner in many calls,” he said. said the Waukesha County Sheriff. Eric Severson said.

Once a scene is considered safe, law enforcement is allowed to cover up other security and criminal issues.

“We want to make sure that mental health crises are addressed by mental health resources,” Severson said. “We don’t want law enforcement to do what is outside their area of ​​expertise.”

The pilot program will end around summer 2022.


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