Everyday Yakima Police encounter people with mental problems. Thanks to a state grant the Yakima Police Department now has a mental health professional working alongside officers. Capt. Gary Jones says in the past when people with mental problems were taken into custody they had to wait for a mental health professional to arrive at the station. But that's changed.
"She's working the night shift with officers in the field. If an officer comes across a situation where her services are needed she can help any unit that needs assistance."
Having a mental health professional from Yakima's Comprehensive Mental Health in the field with officers allows people to receive immediate evaluation and help. And jones says it also frees officers to handle other calls rather than waiting sometimes for hours overnight for a mental health professional to arrive at the station.