Under the 20/20 Plan, written by Illinois Valley residents, public safety is the number one priority, and coordinating mental health services, and sensitivity, with law enforcement is a key strategy. After two years of building an excellent relationship with Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel, who regularly attends the IV Public Safety Task Force, and afterI have had many other meetings with Shelly Uhrig, the Chief Operating Officer of Options, our mental health provider, trust is high and collaboration is proving worthwhile. So when I asked the Sheriff and Options to meet to discuss how to help IV’s indigent population, both groups said yes right away. On Thursday February 6 a group of IVPSTF folks went to Options in GP and met with their COO and their ED, as well as the Sheriff and Undersheriff. Although the resources are not in place to provide much immediate help to people we see on our streets, we all learned a lot about what (long) path we might take to help people in the future.
But convening has tremendous positive effects. People meet who had not known each other. Resources are discovered, and common goals can be reached. Shelly Uhrig offered Sheriff Daniel a series of evidence-based trainings for his patrol personnel, so that if a person is encountered who suffers from mental illness, officers will be far more likely to recognize the problem and respond appropriately, compassionately, and effectively. In the next few months, Josephine County Sheriff’s office patrol personnel will better understand what mental illness looks like, and I expect that the results will be profound.
Thank you to Sheriff Daniel and to Options for your cooperation!
-Kate Dwyer, Strategic Plan Implementation Coordinator