Marion County building in downtown Salem (Caleb Wolf/Special to Salem Reporter)
Marion County added a second mobile crisis team to its ranks last summer and, on Wednesday, will discuss retroactively approving the contract.
Crisis units take calls from 9-1-1 dispatch that involve mental health components, according to the Marion County agenda. The units pair law enforcement with mental health specialists to answer the calls.
The crisis unit made 700 contacts in 2015, an annual high, according to Ann-Marie Bandfield, the county’s health program manager. She said this year with the added team they expect to make over 1,000 contacts.
It’s rare during those contacts that a person goes to jail, Bandfield said. When it does happen, 98 percent of the time the person had a warrant, she said.
“The feedback we’re getting is that they’re less afraid of law enforcement. They feel safer with these teams,” she said.
According to the county’s agenda documents, the second unit works 10-hour shifts, four days per week.
The county added the team July 1, according to Ann-Marie Bandfield, the county’s health program manager. She said commissioners’ decision Wednesday will be to retroactively complete the contract. The two-year contract would pay Salem Police Department, the contract for the services, $608,000 and end July 30, 2021.
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