BREAKING NEWS Oroville man arrested for Sierra County shooting Full Story

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.

Confirmed Cases: 271035

Reported Deaths: 6441
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1165703534
Riverside20555486
Orange17882366
San Diego16726387
San Bernardino15345269
Imperial7190117
Alameda6855140
Fresno611077
Santa Clara5408164
Kern536982
Tulare5009136
San Joaquin447455
Sacramento423669
San Francisco399250
Contra Costa387885
Ventura378950
San Mateo3599108
Santa Barbara326129
Marin280921
Kings267333
Stanislaus266045
Monterey215115
Solano147625
Sonoma135911
Merced127211
Placer91111
San Luis Obispo7652
Yolo67726
Madera5785
Santa Cruz4593
Napa4364
San Benito2732
Sutter2523
Lassen2420
El Dorado2260
Butte2063
Shasta1544
Humboldt1444
Nevada1291
Yuba1282
Glenn1220
Lake961
Tehama881
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Del Norte581
Calaveras530
Mono471
Tuolumne430
Amador330
Inyo331
Siskiyou320
Mariposa311
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Oroville
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 76°
Paradise
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 75°
Chester
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 53°
Red Bluff
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 74°
Willows
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
More heat and sunshine for our area today, and thankfully weaker wind for our dry region. The highs will get hotter, but the wind will also get stronger late in the forecast.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events