‘Co-Responder’ behavioral health unit with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office partnered recently with the Fountain Police Department
EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - Many people might not be aware that the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office deployed a “Behavioral Health Connect Unit” or BHCON Unit back in 2018.
The unit pairs a Sheriff’s Deputy with a Licensed Behavioral Health Clinician for a coordinated response to emergency calls that are mental-health related. The creation came to fruition thanks to a grant from the Colorado Department of Human Services and a partnership with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the El Paso County Department of Health and UCHealth.
“Mental Health issues affect every aspect of law enforcement, from encounters on the street, to court, and to incarceration,” Lt. Deborah Mynatt a Public Information Officer with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office wrote as she provided an update on the unit Monday night. “Since elected to Sheriff in 2015, Bill Elder has committed to ensuring our workforce is well trained and ready to respond to the mental health needs of our community.”
Lt. Mynatt added the unit with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office recently partnered with the Fountain Police Department’s newly established BHCON team.
In the event you have a mental health emergency, call 9-1-1. You may request the BHCON team respond or a CIT Trained deputy respond if available.
If you are having a mental health crisis in Colorado and you need support, you can call the 24-hour crisis line at 1-844-493-8255.
The goals of the BHCON Unit include:
- Provide crisis intervention response to individuals experiencing a mental health emergency
- Prevent unnecessary incarceration and/or hospitalization of mentally ill individuals by connecting them with appropriate care in the least restrictive environment
- Facilitate the return of law enforcement units to patrol activities and emergency vehicles back into rotation
- Support increased training to deputies on improved law enforcement responses to behavioral health calls through Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and Mental health related trainings.
- Promote an information campaign for families, friends, neighbors and communities about mental health awareness, decreasing the stigma of mental illness and encouraging individuals to seek help
- Provide not only response, but also follow-up, to ensure a continuum of care and access to resources
Click here for more on the BHCON Unit in El Paso County.
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