Mental health experts to pair with cops in northern Illinois

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — Winnebago County sheriff’s deputies and Rockford police officers will pair with mental health experts when responding to emergency psychiatric and suicidal episodes as a new approach over arrest.

Law enforcement and crisis-intervention specialists will create a three-month pilot program. beginning next month. It’s an effort to divert people in psychiatric crises away from the criminal justice system and into treatment instead.

The Rockford Register Star reports that after a 911 call, law enforcement would secure an emergency scene before crisis workers assess the patient and develop a plan for the next step. That could include a referral for counseling.