Local law enforcement working on plans to embed mental health professionals, say President's chokehold directive doesn't apply in Lyon County Featured

Leaders of local law enforcement agencies say an emphasis on integrating mental health professionals into nonviolent call response -- as highlighted by President Donald Trump this week -- has been under development locally for close to two years.

Lyon County Sheriff Jeff Cope says local law enforcement has been working on ways to embed mental health staffers into community policing because the need to address mental health matters has become much more apparent over the last decade.


Interim Police Chief Ed Owens says the need for a bigger mental health presence is obvious. What's tough to gauge is when mental health professionals from CrossWinds will be needed.

Lyon County is also discussing frameworks with Douglas and Riley counties. It's also discussing funding mechanisms and it's discussing confidentiality, patient rights and civil rights as the conversation continues.

Comments from local law enforcement leaders come a day after President Trump signed an order designed to direct law enforcement towards stricter use-of-force standards.

Trump’s directive to end chokeholds unless when lives are in danger won’t affect either Emporia officers or Lyon County deputies because neither department has offered training in that control method for years.

Both Owens and Cope also say Kansas law enforcement agencies do a good job of self-policing, notably through the work of the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training, or Kansas CPOST.


Trump’s order calls for the creation of a database for police departments to share information on officers with a history of misconduct. The goal is to prevent those officers from easily moving between different departments.

Congress is working on action of its own through the JUSTICE, or Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere Act. The JUSTICE Act is designed to strengthen training methods, reform hiring practices, fund more body cameras, require law enforcement agencies to report to the FBI whenever officers discharge their weapons or use force and make lynching a federal crime. Senator Jerry Moran is a co-sponsor of this bill.

Click here to read the President's Executive Order on Safe Policing for Safe Communities.

Click here to read the JUSTICE Act.

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Last modified on Thursday, 18 June 2020 07:52