Averting Jail in Texas
Instincts and training kicked in when Fort Worth police officer W.E. Spakes
answered a call on his north-side beat and encountered an older man. Spakes knew that there was something wrong with the man, who had a habit of walking the streets carrying his money in a plastic grocery bag. He said the man talked about "hearing voices that were telling him to do things" -- to himself and others. Spakes didn't consider the man an imminent threat to anyone else, so he made a call and described the situation. As a result of the call, Spakes said, he got the man "the help he needed" without putting him into the criminal justice system.
Tarrant County and officers like this one are working to “get mentally ill people the help they need rather than filling the jails with them.” Another story that makes it clear that it is the right combination of people who care and laws that work – and are implemented – that will truly help the mentally ill get treatment.