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Technology helping Pawhuska police deal with mental crisis

Posted at 5:33 PM, Aug 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-02 19:54:54-04

PAWHUSKA, Okla. — Pawhuska Police Department has a new partnership with Grand Lake Mental Health.

Now Pawhuska police officers will carry iPads with them for immediate mental health assistance.

Pawhuska Police Chief Nick Silva says law enforcement hasn't realized until recently how important mental health is to the community.

"Mental health has changed and it's something people are beginning to understand more," said Chief Silva. "So just us alone, we are beginning to understand mental health better that plays a role in the criminal justice system and criminal justice reform".

Chief Silva says since they've used the tablets he has been impressed with the response from the community.

"They can get the treatment they need right away," said Chief Silva. "I think it you know changes the perspective I guess for them and they get the help that they probably would've been denied in the past."

Pawhuska Patrol Officer Zach West says that normally they'd have to wait hours to get help from a mental health specialist, but these iPads provide a quick safe way to get help for these individuals.

West says in the past he wishes he had resources as they do now to prevent suicide.

He says other officers who've used the tablets have prevented individuals from causing harm to themselves and possibly others.

He's happy things will finally be changing.

"Just being able to help people with mental health, is absolutely a blessing," said West. "I believe it's been an issue and it needs to be addressed."

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