Tucker urges police, mental health relationships~ RH November 6, 2015
STAFF WRITER | November 06, 2015
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