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Police, clinicians look to shift mental-health response burden

Lt. Paul Spagnoli added that in 2016 alone, San Jose police referred 3,000 cases to the county’s psychiatric emergency room at Valley Medical Center. San Jose police encounters with people with known mental illnesses or experiencing mental-health crises accounted for at least 31 percent of the 54 officer-involved shootings since 2009, according to department figures analyzed by this news organization. Her daughter Diana was fatally shot by San Jose police in 2014, after approaching officers with a cordless drill painted black to resemble an Uzi, which she told 911 dispatchers she had. I would never call 911 again for any situation dealing with a mentally ill situation.” She added: “Having someone less threatening who can offer creative solutions to whatever problem is occurring at the time could only help.” Tullys said in October her department will open two new voluntary crisis residential programs — 15 beds apiece in San Jose and South County — that offer assessment, counseling, medication and therapy, and where the average stay would range from two to four weeks instead of the industry-standard 72-hour hold. “It was understandable that they would let her be released,” Vicki Showman said, “but the underlying issues needed to be observed over time.” “This is where a lot of tragedies happen,” said Kathy Forward, executive director of the Santa Clara County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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