Mental health professionals in Summit County say progress is being made toward finding ways to properly handle criminals who have mental illness. They say too many are thrown in jail, where they are unlikely to receive proper treatment, but hospitalization is often not an option either.
"We have a pretty comprehensive mental health system, largely because of the support of Summit County voters who pass levies and allow us to have things like the ADM Crisis Center," said Dr. Mark Munetz with the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board.
He says part of that "comprehensive system" includes cops who have undergone special training, so they can better identify and address people with mental illness.
"Those officers are dispatched and they're more effectively able to safely resolve the crisis, bring the person to treatment, less likely to take them to jail and less likely to leave them at the scene where the cycle may repeat," said Munetz.
Munetz says Summit County was the first county in Ohio to offer Crisis Intervention Training. There are now about 6,000 officers statewide with CIT.