Caring for those suffering from a mental health crisis has to be both compassionate and strategic. With a fleet of 10 therapeutic treatment vans for @LACDMH and 19 Mental Evaluation Team vehicles for @LASDHQ, we have a larger capacity to meet community member's needs. pic.twitter.com/WJHGQoablW— Kathryn Barger (@kathrynbarger) September 9, 2019
Los Angeles County unveiled a new fleet of 10 mental health transport vans on Monday. The Ford vehicles will help reduce long wait periods for the transport of those experiencing mental health crises and will mitigate the risk of trauma caused by ambulance or law enforcement transportation involving restraints, according to the county.
Each van will be staffed with a clinician and a peer support specialist, in addition to a 40-inch monitor with teleconferencing capabilities that can provide access to a psychiatrist during transport.
During the same event, the Sheriff's Department (LASD) debuted another new vehicle: unmarked Ford SUVs that will be used to respond to similar situations. The SUVs do not have the backseat bars seen in most law-enforcement vehicles, and the vehicles will be driven by deputies who are part of the Mental Evaluation Team, reports the Press Telegram.
“What you see here before you is the modern era of transporting patients when we respond to crises,” LASD Lt. John Gannon said during the vehicle unveiling. “The vehicles reflect a lot of thought and a lot of interest in the patients' perspective, and all of the design of this really centered on the discreet transportation vehicles when they have to engage with law enforcement.”
Additional features include air conditioning and a longer-lasting siren. Antennas installed on the SUVs will help deputies locate missing people in the LA Found program, in which residents with Alzheimer's, autism, or dementia sign up to voluntarily wear trackable bracelets. The Sheriff's Department will deploy 19 of these vehicles.