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Pima County Sheriff's Department implements new system to help with mental health crises

Posted at 10:22 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 01:22:18-04

TUCSON, Ariz.-- The Pima County Sheriff's Department is implementing a new 911 system to help people dealing with mental health issues.

9 On Your Side first told you about the procedure yesterday.

Law enforcement said that if someone calls 911 with mental health issues their call will be transferred to a mental health professional instead of dispatching a deputy.

A deputy will still respond if the person is endangering others or there's another criminal element to the case.

Arizona Complete Health is partnering with PCSD to provide crisis mobile teams that can be dispatched to help someone in distress.

Joanne Amstutz, Communications Training Supervisor for PCSD said, "It just helps those people get help from a crisis professional a little faster than if we were to send a deputy first and wait for the deputy to ask for a crisis professional to respond there."

According to the sheriff's department, the goal of the program is to help free up deputies to respond to more crime-related calls and get callers in crisis seen sooner by someone properly trained to help.

PCSD said they have been working to establish a program like this since the beginning of the year.