Butte Co. & Chico PD partner to address mental health & policing

Behavioral Health counselors will make up a 2-person "Mobile Crisis Unit" to assist Chico PD when a call comes in involving a person with mental health issues.

Posted: Feb 5, 2018 5:14 PM

"When I started here as chief two and a half years ago, I noticed an increase in calls for service to mentally ill subjects .. and having that dynamic in mind, I knew we had to look at how we were responding," said O'Brien.

Crisis intervention training has played a big role, and these days, Chico Police rely on it nearly every single day.

"It could be someone with depression, suicidal, a medication they're not taking" said O'Brien.

But then, an unforgettable tragedy last March shed even more light on the problem.

"I called them for help, now I don't have son" said David Phillips, last year.

Chico police officers shot and killed 25 year Desmond Phillips, who was spiraling dangerously in a mental health crisis.

The shooting was found to be justified by the district attorney, but it spurred community members to call for a better way to deal with mental health - and it looks like they're going to get it.

Butte Count Behavioral Help is stepping in to assist, with a small Mobile Crisis Team.

"This will help us allow for help and assistance for our PD officers - they an have a mental health specialist to join them on the calls and actually figure out what's going on instead of using extra police resources to deal with the issue," said Chico City Councilman Andrew Coolidge.

"The idea is to take those councilors, put them in a police vehicle, with police radios, and when we have an incident that requires their expertise, we can call them with the police radio," said O'Brien.

While the funding comes from the behavioral health department, the two counselors will be driving around in an unmarked police car and can be dispatched at any time to a mental health emergency.

"Our target team may be out on a call with a subject that just may need some mental health counseling - it doesn't have to rise to the level of crisis for them to respond," said O'Brien.

And when there is a real, dangerous crisis?

"If we have an incident … we have to have control of the situation, we're not going put a counselor in a situation that puts them at risk. but, we can bring in in a tactical way to allow their expertise to be inserted in a way that will resolve the situation in the most peaceful way possible," said O'Brien.

City council is set to confirm or make a final decision on the memorandum of understanding at Tuesday night's meeting.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1246042

Reported Deaths: 19304
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles4083967700
San Bernardino941061129
Riverside877221443
San Diego834211019
Orange793431577
Kern41957448
Fresno38712488
Sacramento37884581
Santa Clara35457482
Alameda29972514
San Joaquin25920509
Contra Costa24475261
Stanislaus22399426
Tulare20913312
Ventura20308183
Imperial16364356
Monterey15837122
San Francisco15639160
San Mateo14614170
Sonoma12319157
Merced12175181
Santa Barbara11602136
Kings1136687
Solano1073181
Marin7808129
Placer666471
Madera634686
San Luis Obispo631138
Shasta513250
Yolo493077
Santa Cruz455828
Butte414860
Sutter356517
Napa309118
El Dorado25464
Lassen21603
Yuba215810
San Benito192917
Tehama172425
Mendocino159423
Nevada13489
Tuolumne10558
Glenn95410
Lake95120
Humboldt9199
Colusa7376
Siskiyou7223
Amador63816
Mono5493
Calaveras47822
Del Norte3391
Inyo30416
Plumas2200
Trinity1640
Modoc1510
Mariposa1433
Alpine510
Sierra230
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 48°
Oroville
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 49°
Paradise
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 48°
Chester
Clear
23° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 23°
Red Bluff
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 45°
Willows
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 48°
It certainly didn't feel like early December around northern California this afternoon with plentiful sunshine and much warmer than average highs. A cold front is approaching, but we unfortunately don't have rain or snow in our forecast.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events