Sgt. Terry Preuninger, PIO
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 3:38 p.m.
Newly formed Spokane area law enforcement Behavioral Health Unit responds to woman in crisis.
The new BHU is a regional unit comprised of a mix of Spokane Law Enforcement Officers from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and the Spokane Police Department, as well as Mental Health Professionals from Frontier Behavioral Health. This team works together to help give people earlier and better access to mental health resources they may need, that could serve them more effectively than traditional criminal justice tools such as arrest, fines, or incarceration.
On 01-14-2020 SPD BHU Officers did a follow up on a female that had been exhibiting delusional behaviors. Previous contact from the day before resulted in the female’s boyfriend answering SPD’s knock at the door with a shotgun. The female had previously made 30+ calls to 911 referencing suspicious things happening in her residence, such as people in her walls and attic and people in a black truck following her everywhere. SPD BHU wanted to give the female the resources she needed to get help and avoid anything turning into a criminal investigation, while also decreasing the amount of calls to 911.
At the time of contact, the female stated she does have some mental issues and had not taken her medication for over two months. The residence was in disarray with clothing and personal items littering the floor, and the bunk bed in the kid’s bedroom did not have a mattress. There were four children living at the female’s residence (as young as 21 months old). The Behavioral Health unit reached out to Frontier Behavioral Health and Child Protective Services to inquire on open cases for the female due to the following concerns:
-She and her boyfriend were using drugs around the children.
-She was so delusional she was unable to care for herself and others.
-The boyfriend was leaving firearms within reach of his 21 month old son in common with her.
-Her drug use, sales, and short stay traffic could endanger the children.
CPS confirmed the female had an open case and was known to use illegal drugs.
The female agreed to seek treatment at Sacred Heart Medical Center. The charge nurse was advised of her mental state and the female was transported and admitted to SHMC.
The three older children were placed in the care of their respective fathers and the youngest was placed with CPS.
The SPD Behavioral Health unit was key in resolving this situation by recognizing the female’s need for mental help and working with her from start to finish to get her the care she needs while simultaneously deescalating the situation at her residence.
Officer John O'Brien