BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Behavioral Health’s partnership with the Bend Police Department is underway. The Mobile Crisis Assessment Team has been operating since May 1st. Police Chief Mike Krantz tells KBND News he’s been working 2 years to launch the project that handles dispatch calls for non-threatening circumstances, “Where our primary focus is criminal investigations, response to 911 calls, public safety. We may not really be the best resource for that person at that time. So, that’s really our focus of how do we find an alternative resource and response to give the best resource to the person in need.”
MCAT is now able to handle person-in-crisis calls on their own if they don’t warrant a police response, “They may not be best served by law enforcement. And it may not be the best use of our time as a public safety or law enforcement agency. Another resource may be having Deschutes County Behavioral Health or MCAT respond to assist that person in offering alternative crisis resources, but it’s something that’s outside of really the world of law enforcement,” Krantz says adding the unit has been busy since the program went into effect at the beginning of May, “They’ve taken over 30 calls last week from us. That’s a huge impact.”
The Chief says the department will look at other ways to assign duties that don’t fall directly under police purview, as budgets allow.