Howard Police Expand Mental Health Unit, Tackle Red Flags


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The Howard County Police Department has expanded its mental health unit from one officer and one mental health professional to three officers and one mental health professional to help bolster local efforts to support the state’s red flag law.


The expanded unit work will work closely with other government agencies to process red flags.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Llewellyn said that in Howard, members of the police department’s mental health unit have discussed the process for handling protection orders with Howard district court judges as well as the county’s health department. In addition, a meeting on the subject is planned with the county school system; the police department already has a mental health representative on the superintendent’s mental health sub-cabinet, she said.

Initially formed in 2013 under then-police chief Bill McMahon, the department’s mental health unit addresses police calls related to mental health crises, suicides, suicide attempts and emergency petitions — instances where people are taken to a hospital by police officers if they pose a risk to themselves or someone else.

The red flag law known formally as the emergency risk protection orders (ERPO) went into effect in October. The positions were created through reorganization of existing vacant positions in the department.

Read to The Baltimore Sun learn more.

Learn more about partnerships in public safety and the roles counties are playing to address behavioral health issues at the MACo Winter Conference sessions, “The Life Saving Power of Public Safety Partnerships,” and Who’s Falling Through the Cracks? Addressing Gaps in Behavioral Health Services.”

The MACo Winter Conference will be held January 2-4, 2019 at the Hyatt in Cambridge, Maryland. This year’s theme is, “Charting the Course.”

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

Questions? Contact Member Services Director Virginia White.