MASON CITY, Iowa — The Mason City Council approved a plan to have mental health experts assist the local police department on certain cases involving people with psychiatric issues in the hopes of getting better outcomes.

Under the plan approved Tuesday, the police department and Cerro Gordo County Social Services will work to create a law enforcement mental health care coordinator position, the Globe Gazette reported. The eventual coordinator will serve under the county agency and will assist the police in mental health situations.

Councilman John Lee noted that mental health issues are rising across the state.

Police Chief Jeff Brinkley told the newspaper that calls for service related to mental health have increased by 22 percent over the last three years.

He said the challenge is reducing the impact on public safety resources while offering better care for mental health patients. He said they aim to work with patients before they reach crisis status.

“We also hope to build a better network of family, community, provider and medical support — supporting clients ahead of crisis,” said Brinkley.

Bob Lincoln, who heads the county agency, said the partnership serves as another piece in meeting the needs of both the police department and the mental health community.

Brinkley said the agreement is effective immediately. It’s scheduled to expire at the end of June 2019 but can be extended, he said.


Information from: Globe Gazette, http://www.globegazette.com/