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Sheriff continues to showcase Mental Health needs

Aug 18, 2022

By: Katherine Trowbridge

Franklin County Sheriff Jim Raymond, in a press release Monday, Aug. 15, shared more reasons why Mental Health needs must be addressed in Franklin County. “We have a duty and an obligation to our citizens to do the best we can do with what we are given; now we are asking for a resource that would, more than ever, assist us with our duties. We are asking for more readily-available resources, proper staffing, and greater funding to be able to address these instances in a more effective and efficient manner to get these individuals the help they need.” Currently, the Tri-Cities has no detox center or proper facility to house individuals suffering from drug abuse and mental health who are violent. While some may think jail is a solution, the question is are we helping or hurting the situation?

Sheriff Raymond referenced the response by FCSO deputies on Sat. Aug. 13 to a man in crisis at Glade North Road outside of Lamb Weston. “When the deputy exited her vehicle and attempted to make contact from a safe distance, the male immediately became belligerent and aggressive, appearing to be on narcotics,” the release stated. As the deputy waited things escalated. Pasco Police arrived to assist, recognizing the male from previous encounters.

On the day of this incident, one sergeant and two deputies were working when the call came in. The sergeant and one deputy were addressing this call for two hours, leaving one deputy free for county calls that continued to come in. While the second deputy was no longer needed after the two hours, the sergeant was involved in the incident for the remainder of his shift and far into the night, leaving staff short again the following day.

The male had been telling deputies that he was trying to get help, the report stated. Mental Health had told deputies that there were only two case officers qualified for providing mental health evaluations in the Tri-Cities currently working and that the male would have to be cleared at a hospital. However he was not welcome at Lourdes so he was transported to Kadlec.

In the end the sergeant, after obtaining approval from supervisors transported the male to a Wenatchee Mental Health Facility over 135 miles away. “While this incident resulted in a preferable outcome,for not only the male, but also citizens, hospital staff, deputies, and officers, It is difficult to refute the great amount of resources allocated towards it’s resolution, Sheriff Raymond stated.” A rough estimate in tax payer dollars in dealing with this incident amounts to approximately $60,000.”

On the day of this incident, the male was seen by numerous hospital staff, having been medically cleared twice, and placed in a hospital bed for seven hours. He was also evaluated by Mental Health and admitted into the Wenatchee facility. However, before this day, he had been seen again numerous times by hospital staff, placed in several hospital beds, sedated several times, and had been making threatening statements towards hospital staff in the meantime. Despite these instances, he still ended up walking in the middle of the roadway on Glade North Road, jumping in and out of traffic and creating a dangerous situation not only for himself but for civilians and motorists.

Raymond added, “We in law enforcement are asked to do more and more while we are limited in our ability to safely come to resolutions in an efficient manner. The cause and effect of these extreme situations come at a cost to the safety of the citizens of Franklin County, the individual in crisis, and the taxpayers. We in law enforcement have to look out after the safety of all, but at the same time are limited with the resources at hand. We used to have Mental Health riding with us during shifts, which was a great tool in helping people in these situations in a timely manner. Because resources have been taken away, law enforcement has to go the extra mile to protect all, which comes at a cost not only to our own but those around us, including the people we serve."

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