Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatoon Police, Crisis Workers Team Up to Help Mentally Ill, Homeless, Drunk

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatoon Police, Crisis Workers Team Up to Help Mentally Ill, Homeless, Drunk

Article excerpt

Crisis workers, police keep people out of jails, ER

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SASKATOON - The Saskatoon Health Region says a special unit made up of police officers and crisis workers has saved $200,000 and helped people who were homeless, mentally ill and drunk.

In the first 12 months of operation, the unit responded to 875 calls.

The unit was able to keep 97 people from going to a hospital emergency room, 192 required assistance to help prevent suicide and 31 people were kept out of the court system.

Police Inspector Mitch Yuzdepski says before the unit began a year ago, police were not equipped to deal with non-criminal calls.

He says the focus now is on the person rather than the call.

Christine Tell, the minister responsible for corrections and policing, says the province is looking at providing mental-health training for police officers, but it's really up to the provincial board of police commissioners. …

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