Northeast Joco cities consider adding mental health pro

A group of northeast Johnson County cities wants to give their police officers better resources when answering calls involving suicide attempts, substance abuse or other mental health issues.

The cities of Leawood, Prairie Village, Mission, Merriam, Fairway, Westwood and Roeland Park are considering a proposal to contract with Johnson County Mental Health to provide a mental health professional for the group. This professional, called a “co-responder,” would be available to accompany officers on calls at any time of day.

“This program assists us with difficult calls for service,” Prairie Village Police Chief Tim Schwartzkopf told his city council members Tuesday night, adding that his department averages around 120 mental health calls a year. “Although we are pretty close to having all of our patrol officers and field personnel trained in crisis intervention training, we are not professional mental health workers.”

(Read more: Joco 913 News | KansasCity.com &)

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