With local law enforcement having to deal with mental health issues in many situations, some communities around the country are finding alternatives to police with mental health teams responding to emergencies. Eugene, Oregon has formed a mobile mental health crisis intervention team called CAHOOTS, which stands for “Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets”. Door County Sheriff Tammy Sternard says an organized community partnership would be needed to have a similar response team in place here.
A recent study found that between 25 and 50 percent of all fatal officer-involved shootings involve someone with a severe mental illness. Sternard says officers in Door County are being sent to be CIT certified in Crisis Intervention Training. She stresses that is only one of the steps being taken by her department to deal with mental health problems that officers encounter with the public.