Less than a week after a man who said he was mentally ill was killed by Oklahoma City police, Sen. Jim Inhofe announced legislation that would boost mental health training for law enforcement.
On Friday morning at the Tulsa Police Officers Memorial, the Republican senator told a small group of reporters that he plans to introduce next week the Mental Health Crisis Response Act of 2021 law enforcement training.
The bill, which is backed by four Republican senators and two Democrats, would provide $ 7.5 million in grants to law enforcement across the country to prepare officers to respond to crises and promote collaboration. with health and mental health professionals.
“What we want to make sure is that they are equipped with everything they need to help them in this community,” Inhofe said of the nearby police training shootout. “And right now they’re not.”
Daniel Hobbs, 34, was shot dead on May 8 by Oklahoma City Police Officer Daniel Lopez, who has received specialized mental health training as a member of the department’s Crisis Intervention Unit. . Hobbs had stayed outside his grandfather’s house “looking at the clouds,” according to a neighbor who called police. Hobbs was shot during a fight with Lopez after Hobbs resisted letting the officer look for weapons, as seen in a video of the incident released by the department.
The proposed grants would fund training through the Alternative Mental Illness Response Center for law enforcement in Colorado Springs. The training is funded by the National Association of Tactical Officers, which is made up of active and retired military and police officers from across the country, including Tulsa Police Captain Luke Sherman.
Sherman, who is chairman of the association’s board of directors, said the program helps agencies develop a response plan that includes doctors, social workers and police officers.
Some mental health officers and professionals argue that the police should not respond at all to mental health emergencies. But Sherman disagrees.
“We protect, but we also serve,” Sherman said. “This is the part of the service and we should be part of this group that is responding.”
https://oklahomawatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/IMG_5520.mov Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado told reporters that “the solution to mental illness should not be put exclusively in the hands of law enforcement “during a May 14. 2021, press conference. (Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch)
Whitney Bryen is an Oklahoma Watch investigative journalist and visual narrator with an emphasis on domestic violence, mental health, and nursing homes affected by COVID-19. Contact her at (405) 201-6057 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @SoonerReporter.
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