Midland law enforcement create Mental Health Task Force - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Midland law enforcement create Mental Health Task Force

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) -

The Mental Health Task Force is a joint effort between the Midland County Sheriff's Office and the Midland Police Department due to an increase in mental health calls.

The task force is made up of five deputies from the Crisis Response Team and two Midland police officers. They all have been trained by a Texas mental health law expert.

"They are going to learn a lot of the paperwork that we do and a lot of the way we handle the calls themselves," said Fernando Carrasco of the Crisis Response Team.

The officers were given a 40 hour mental health peace officer course in July 2015. Law enforcement says the goal of the task force is to help the citizens of Midland who suffer from mental health issues or who find themselves in a mental crisis.

"These are people that are significantly a danger to themselves, to their family and to the public," said Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter.

Painter said they receive about 800 to 1,000 mental health calls a year and the police department receives about 300.

"We get more and more calls every year having to do with people that are in a mental crisis," said Painter.

Both agencies are hoping to better evaluate the needs of their citizens.

"It's all about helping them and diverting these people from jail. They don't need to be in jail. That's the wrong place for them," said Midland Police Chief Price Robinson.

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