WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. — A pilot program for embedding a full-time mental health professional within the Waukesha County Sheriff's Office began Monday.
The program was created by Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson and the Waukesha County Health and Human Services Department.
Officials say mental health related issues and contacts with law enforcement continue to rise, both locally and nationally. Police say in 2020, there were 691 mental health related calls that involved Waukesha County Sheriff's deputies and crisis services, compared with 236 in 2018.
The grant-funded position will allow for additional safety and security measures, as well as improved response times. Officials say it will allow for properly trained mental health workers to deal with non-law enforcement issues, freeing up deputies for public safety and criminal issues.
The mental health professional will perform professional mental health services, not law enforcement functions.
The services and worker will be located within the Waukesha County Sheriff's Office eight hours a day, five days a week during the pilot program.