I want this post to be a positive post. I want to take a moment and celebrate progress where progress is being made.
When we were in the last days of working with Emma for her survival we were introduced Kimberly, the Olathe Police Department’s Mental Health Co-Responder. I didn’t know such a thing existed! And she was fantastic. In fact, for months we had been struggling to identify exactly what Emma’s condition should be labeled. The therapists and counselors we had sought out were having a tough time identifying the exact diagnosis.
That’s not a knock on the professionals. Mental health isn’t a broker wrist. There can be many co-diagnosis-es when working with anyone with a mental health abnormality. Yet, in walked this co-responder with grace and compassion. She observed and advised and worked with the first arriving police officers. Then she pulled Marie and I aside and said she had seen this before, “Check for Borderline Personality Disorder.”
In many ways it was much easier for her to make the diagnosis. She was seeing Emma in the rage. The therapist only saw her in the office…afterwards.
Anyway, as I understand it, back in 2017 (or was it ’16…my timelines sometimes fade.) Kimberly was the only Mental Health Co-Responder in all of Johnson County. The first. Today, there are eleven in JoCo and the various departments cooperate with each when need be. Olathe has two now. Maybe three, I may have missed something she said because she alluded to Olathe Health paying for a third one because it allows Olathe Health to keep these crisis patients out of the emergency rooms, where there is often little the doctors on call can really do.
The point I’m making is that the Olathe Police Department seems to be very progressive for our area when it comes to recognizing mental health situations on their police calls. I want to thank them for leading the way.
In all my interactions with Olathe’s police I found them to be very cooperative, save for one officer I nearly had enough of…on just one night. When other officers arrived, the situation deescalated quickly as the secondary officer filled him in on our situation…he had been here before. (Literally.)
Apparently ALL of Olathe’s officers now receive a minimum of forty hours of training on how to work with mental health situations. For that I want to be sure I say thank you for our city leaders, for our police leaders and for the money set aside for this purpose.
Again and again, thank you.