A 24/7 psychiatric care center in Tulsa has added a dedicated police entry port and treatment beds to help law enforcement get people in crisis to appropriate help faster.
The Police One Stop is at Family and Children’s Services downtown CrisisCare Center. Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said up to now, officers have often been default mental health responders and have had to decide whether to take someone in crisis to jail, an emergency room or somewhere else.
"It changes the dynamics of how we used to do things, where officers were driving from one location to another, attempting to find space for an individual in mental health crisis. This stops all of that and allows our officers to get back on the street quicker, and it allows people to get the services they need in a more expeditious manner," Franklin said.
Professionals at the CrisisCare Center will triage people in a mental health crisis and assess whether they can be treated on site or a transportation service must take them to a different facility.
Family and Children’s Services CEO Gail Lapidus said a recent study showed Tulsa had less than 75% of the psychiatric hospital beds a community its size needs, leading to 2,000 people in crisis being taken to other communities by police.
"Delaying stabilization, delaying treatment is not the best practice for an individual in a psychiatric crisis. We know from experience that immediate access to help and hope and healing will save lives," Lapidus said.
The Police One Stop is available to all area law enforcement agencies and is part of work under a 10-year regional mental health plan.
Funding from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services goes toward the expansion, while the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation is supporting the police entry port.
Note: This station receives financial support from the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation.