The Omaha Police force activates mental health units

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The Omaha Police Department answer hundreds of calls each year for someone dealing with mental health problems. For about a year now, these calls have been answered by a psychologist and a specially trained Omaha police officer.

Often times, it is family members who call the police to check the welfare of a loved one. 6 News spoke to a team of officials and therapists providing convenience to families who need to make this call.

A family member called the police to check on a man who had not taken his medication. A mental health co-responder was also called to the scene, and the family said this brought them some comfort.

“I’m very relieved that you don’t know what state of mind this person is in,” said Valerie. “And previous experience with the police in dealing with people who had a mental health problem, who were killed or injured while they were arresting them.”

Shelly Pool is a licensed mental health crisis therapist and co-responder working with the Omaha Police Department.

“We want to reduce hospital stays. We want to reduce incarceration. We want to reduce any escalation at the moment that could result in the consumer being transported somewhere for a higher level of care, ”she said.

Mark Lang, one of 320 OPD officers trained in crisis intervention, appreciates having an expert on the team.

“When we have a licensed therapist with us, they have a lot of time resources that we don’t necessarily have, or they have a faster way to get those resources to our consumers,” he said.

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