Lake Mary Police pilot program changes how law enforcement responds to mental-illness

LAKE MARY, Fla. — It is not uncommon for police officers to encounter people suffering form mental health issues.

Often officers find themselves dealing with the same people over and over again.

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That is why in March. to try to break that cycle, the Lake Mary police department started a public-private partnership called the Mental Health Intervention Group.

Under the program a mental health counselor is made available to assist officers on the scene of an incident to determine if a person needs to be involuntarily committed under the Baker Act and ultimately get counseling.

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On Tuesday, officers and mental health professionals met to get an update on the program and its progress.

Zach Hudson with the Lake Mary Police department says so far indications are the program is working.

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He said the fact that only two people out of 45 who came through the program had to be involuntarily committed a second time under the Baker Act is “huge.”

Right now, care managers are taking many cases pro bono, but the hope is that more funding is made available to help those that are underinsured or don’t have insurance.



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Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.