‘Mental Health Cops’ Patrol Streets


(Courtesy: KGW)

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Police in Portland, Oregon have a program to identify and help people with mental illnesses.

An officer teams up with a social worker and they hit the streets as sort of a mobile crisis unit.

On Friday, Officer Bret Burton and his partner were searching for a man who was released from the state mental hospital.

They were afraid he wasn’t getting the help he needs.

This program is the direct result of a 2006 case.

Burton was one of several officers who tackled a man running from them.

That man died in police custody and it was later learned he was schizophrenic.

“It’s definitely something that’s changed my life and changed the way we do police work here in the city,” Burton said.

The department plans to add more police-social worker teams.


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