You write long enough in newspapers and you develop a series of sources. People you can go to for information and people who want to provide you with information. It is usually best to view the latter with a jaundiced eye, with skeptical antenna on alert.
However, sometimes the raw information they supply speaks for itself, more succinctly and to the point than any loquacious paragraph. The following contains two examples of what are now becoming all too typical law enforcement dispatch calls and responses on the Mendocino Coast. The commentary is that of the citizen source (who has no ties to the subject of mental health service in Mendocino County, other than personal curiosity/interest). The jargon is a mixture of direct law enforcement speak and/or the citizen's interpretation. The only deletions are mine, to protect the identity of potential mental health clients:
December 22, 2015
Citizen: Approx. 7:20 PM, I turned on the scanner due to the weather, and I heard the County dispatcher call law enforcement, with the message that Mental Health advises they won't be driving over the hill to speak with a subject unless they are making suicidal threats.
Law enforcement officer says, “But subject really wants to talk to a Mental Health person.”
Dispatch repeats, “They won't be driving over the hill to speak with your subject unless they're making suicidal threats.”
Officer (clearly flummoxed) says, “Well, he's not making suicidal threats, but he wants to speak with a Mental Health person.”
Dispatch gives the officer the Mental Health phone number to pass on to the guy, who clearly wanted to talk to a human in person (not so good).
The second example is from January 4, 2016.
Citizen: Heard tonight over the scanner set to law enforcement frequency.
12:40 AM Officer contacts dispatch and says, "Call out to Mental Health for a mental patient. We'll meet them at Coast Hospital ER.”
Second officer also tells dispatch he is going to assist the first officer.
12:41 AM "Unit 97 (arrives) at hospital.” First officer requests a case number (I couldn't remember the number, he said it too fast.).
12:49 AM, Dispatch tells first officer he contacted Mental Health, but no answer.
I believe xxxxxxx is the patient's name. He was contacted at Motel 6 several minutes earlier.
When the first officer calls dispatch to run the guy's ID, I can hear a loud agitated male in the background.
12:49 AM Dispatch tells first officer he recontacted Mental Health and they request the officer call yyyyy at 800-555-****, because yyyyy wants some background information on the subject.
1:30 AM Second officer asks dispatch if there is any pending traffic (No).
2:01 AM Dispatch calls first officer at hospital, telling him "Mental health left Ukiah at 0:100 hours, so should be there soon.”
3:20 AM First officer calls dispatch, asks for time of call and case number (I couldn't remember the numbers dammit).
3:29 AM First officer calls dispatch, "Both units 98 (leaving) the hospital ER. Patient is under care of mental health now.”
The officers are only required to stay at the hospital if the patient is troublesome, and the staff requests they stay. Apparently this guy needed two officers to babysit him for 2.5 hours.
So it was 2.5 hours before the guy got the (supposed to be timely) help the County is paying for. This isn't what Ortner agreed to do.
I feel it's cruel to make someone in need wait so long before assessment or treatment.
And, the City/County should be billing Ortner for the valuable time the officers have to wait at the hospital for Ortner's mental health professional to drive here from Ukiah, Ortner has to go!