Police departments in Dutchess report positive results since partnering with mental health specialists

Two police departments in Dutchess County are sharing improvements when dealing with mental health crisis calls.

News 12 Staff

Jun 30, 2021, 9:43 PM

Updated 1,090 days ago

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Two police departments in Dutchess County are sharing improvements when dealing with mental health crisis calls.
Beacon Police Department is one of the two agencies in the county to add a behavioral specialist to its team.
"The call might not come across as emotional disturbed or something like that. But it can turn out to be that,” says Lashaveous Dicker.
One incident included a woman he helped to seek mental health help by getting on the ground to talk with her while she was in distress in a fetal position. "It's a win-win. If I'm able to help one person, I feel I did my job. But I want to try to help everybody that I can. Because that's what I enjoy doing,” says Dicker.
Dicker is employed by Mental Health America of Dutchess County - the agency partnering with willing departments to deploy their experts.
The first police department in Dutchess County to team up with MHA was the city of Poughkeepsie.
"If you can help someone, why wouldn't you?,” says behavioral specialist Linwood Burke.
Burke has assisted Poughkeepsie police with mental health crisis calls since September 2020.
Incidents Burke has de-escalated include convincing a knife-wielding man to put his weapon down and go to a hospital safely.
"I probably met that gentleman on one of his worst days. But myself and with the officers, we were able to speak to him and get him to calm down…You ask me why I do what I do. That right there would probably be at the top. That's the reason right there,” says Burke.
News 12 is told the behavioral specialists are tasked with helping those dealing with mental health issues, addictions and other issues to understand there’s help available and, if need be, connect them to a case manager.
Mental Health America of Dutchess County typically costs $70,000 to assign one of its experts to police departments.
Dicker and Burke are contracted to work for a year and say they hope to continue helping those in need.


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