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Tucker urges police, mental health relationships~ RH November 6, 2015

Tucker urges police, mental health relationships
By Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli
STAFF WRITER | November 06, 2015

Scott Tucker

While pairing mental health crisis workers with police might seem like a nontraditional relationship, Capt. Scott Tucker of the Rutland City Police said it’s important to foster those relationships.

“This is a paradigm shift,” Tucker said Thursday night during the Rutland Mental Health Services annual meeting at the Rutland Country Club.

“We used to say, ‘Go to the ER,’” he said. “The paradigm is moving out of the ER and back into the community.”

As the featured speaker, Tucker, who heads Rutland’s Project VISION, addressed an audience of about 80 people: RMHS staff, local and state lawmakers, board members and community members.

Such nontraditional pairings help communities, he said.

“We need innovative thinking,” he said, adding that mental health crisis workers and police are really not that different, and that both want similar outcomes.

“We work to improve lives, we rely on a teammate, we see people at their worst,” he said. “These relationships will help build great neighborhoods. Let’s focus on the positive.”

Tucker praised mental health crisis clinician Alecia Armstrong, who is embedded in the city police, and how having her working with the police department makes a difference.

“She is truly a member of our police family,” he said. “She is an embedded crisis clinician, she is FBI trained, she is part of our hostage negotiation team.”

The way the relationship works, if there is a crisis, particularly when someone poses a risk to themselves or others, Armstrong meets the responding officer and they go on the call together. Armstrong said they often meet near the scene to plan how they will go into the call.

Sometimes the individual responds better to the uniform and sometimes they respond better to her, she said.

Tucker said the goal is to help people stay in their communities.

“I believe in Rutland,” he said, encouraging the audience to participate. “Raise your hands, ‘I believe in Rutland.’”

And a chorus of, “I believe in Rutland,” resonated through the room.

kathleen. phalentomaselli @rutlandherald.com

1 Comment

  1. Karen Marino

    This is a wonderful thing Rutland is doing. Maybe too late for my son, maybe not. It’s also important to remember that sometimes even people with mental illness can have a valid reason for what others perceive as committing a crime. I would believe much more in the system if there were not a 40 yr old pedophile in castleton, who is yet to be arrested for a sexual offense against a mentally challenged young man, and an 18 yr old in fair haven who raped a 12 year old girl when he was 17, who is also yet to be arrested or charged, and my son caught in the middle with a charge of simple assault for protecting his girlfriend from a rapist. How does that make any sense, and how does that instill any faith in our justice system? Please someone tell me.

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