by Marissa Lorenz
Kremmling Police Officer Bryson Hicks sustained a minor injury during an ongoing non-criminal interaction with an individual that occurred over several days, according to Acting Police Chief Annette Dopplick. The event highlights the value of mental health support services in the greater community and in times of crisis.
“Officer Hicks was assisting mental health professionals, at their request, when he was accidentally injured by an individual in crisis. The individual was not injured,” the Chief explains. “The involved individual received professional crisis care and a meaningful transition plan to facilitate ongoing treatment.”
“This type of response highlights the impact that the policies of our failed mental health system have on the day-to-day work of law enforcement,” she continues.
“Our mental health system has effectively made police and sheriffs the front lines of mental health
care in America; that has had a negative impact for everyone.”
“A lot of people think an officer’s job is mere enforcement of laws,” explains Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin. “That’s not the case. Our officers do many different things and are interacting more and more frequently with individuals in crisis.”
“Some people are in long-term crisis, but many are just experiencing a short-term crisis that needs intervention. These are challenging times for people, and our goal is to get them back to a place of stability where they continue being valued members of our community.”
Grand County law enforcement agencies partner primarily with Mind Springs Health, whose local office is in Granby, for crisis response support. Mind Springs provides a 24/7 mobile response service that can be called in response to anyone experiencing a mental health or substance-related crisis. Their crisis services can be requested by anyone in the community and, depending upon the need, they respond by phone, on-scene, or to local hospitals and medical centers.
Makena Line, Program Director at Mind Springs, recognizes local law enforcement and emergency service providers as valuable partners in working with and protecting those experiencing mental health or substance-abuse challenges.
“This is not the typical outcome,” she stresses about the incident in Kremmling. “People with mental health challenges are more often the victims of violence than the perpetrators.”
Line encourages anyone experiencing a crisis situation, “no matter how small,” to contact the Colorado State Crisis Services at 844-493-8255 or by texting TALK to 38255.
Friends, family, and neighbors can reach out for support to the same number. “They do a great job of talking to individuals at the time and will work to get callers directed to the right care, including dispatching [Mind Springs crisis response] to the scene,” she explains.
Mind Springs also provides a free mental health support line for community members experiencing stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns, especially during this time of pandemic, fire, et cetera. Support can be reached at 877-519-7505.
Regular appointments can be made by calling the Mind Springs office at 970-887-2179. They are currently accepting new clients, including those who are insured, uninsured, and Medicaid recipients.
“No one is ever alone,” Line reminds. “Reach out for help.”
Hicks on planned vacation, will return to new chief Coincidentally, Officer Hicks will be on vacation this week, Dopplick reports. “He’s taking some planned time off. He will be working full time after some well-earned time away.”
Hick’s return to service will coincide closely with the arrival of incoming Kremmling Police Chief Hiram Rivera, who has experience with “innovative solutions to engage mental health providers with frontline solutions, such as a co-responder program. It will be exciting to watch Chief Rivera build our regional response in a meaningful direction when he takes the helm,” concludes Dopplick.