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Orange County Sheriff’s Department Rolls Out Behavioral Response Units For People Experiencing Mental Health Crises

Photo: Aliyah Jamous

On average, OCSO receives 8,000 calls every year regarding mental health crises.

The teams of deputy’s sheriffs and mental health clinicians from Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health began responding to mental health-related calls this week.

Deputies respond first on the scene and once it is deemed safe, clinicians join them to help intervene.

“The hope is that the clinicians will use all of their training and all of their background to help some of these people in crisis to deescalate and calm down and really get them the services that they need and help these incidents come to a peaceful resolution.”

Each team received 40 hours of specialized training in cases as varied as those involving PTSD to substance abuse. All deputies also receive 40 hours of crisis intervention training.

“We are putting all of our deputies through crisis intervention training and that is a huge help, but a mental health clinician is in a better position to help people who are in crisis.”

The goal is to deescalate situations, arrive at peaceful resolutions, and limit arrests and Baker Acts.

If you’d like to listen to this story, click on the clips above.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »