ATHENS— Sheriff’s offices and law enforcement are first responders since they are 911- it’s who people call when they have an issue.
Mental health treatment has been decentralized so there are more people on the street with mental health issues. Law enforcement is forced to deal with such issues even though they’re not trained to be mental health counselors have procedures when they get an inmate with mental health issues- can call in a health professional, or lock them up if need be.
Update 11:00 am: Reporter Jacob Moore sat down with Scott Berry of the the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office to discuss first response.
This can be difficult because those with mental health issues must want the treatment, but they often don’t want to be treated. Mental health has become a cycle- person comes into jail, is treated however they can be treated, is released, and ends up doing something that would lead them back to jail
Oconee County sheriff Scott Berry says that there could be as many as 20% of inmates in the jail at a given time with mental health issues
Update 11:15 am: Sheriff Berry told Reporter Jacob Moore that some of these inmates need more than jail time.