Mental health related arrests are down more than 50 per cent in Cranbrook, a year after RCMP added a new position to the force.
Constable Erin Stevenson was named as Mental Health Liaison Officer last October.
One of her main objectives was to better connect local services to reduce the strain on police and organizations.
Stevenson says this issue exists in all types of community members and they’ve been trying to change their approach to these cases to treat them as a health problem and not a criminal one.
Looking ahead, she says RCMP want to continue to build their presence in the community and get more boots on the ground in the downtown area, where most of their clients are located.
Stevenson wants to develop relationships so when these clients do see or deal with police there isn’t a negative connotation to the interaction.
There have been 67 mental health apprehensions so far this year, compared to 113 during the same stretch of 2016.
Overall, mental health related calls are down to 347 so far in 2017, a decrease of 16 per cent from the first 10 months of last year.
Stevenson suggests statistics only tell one side of the story.
She says the connection between local services, especially the RCMP and Emergency Room at East Kootenay Regional Hospital, has improved immensely.
With the first year of the three year contract under her belt, and many lessons already learned, Stevenson says she motivated moving forward.
– Cranbrook RCMP Cst. Erin Stevenson