Hear from a panel of law enforcement officials and mental health experts. This is a live webinar. Receive the Zoom link by using the "Register Here for Online Access" link above.
With mental health calls on the rise, law enforcement officers often serve at the front lines of this public health crisis. But what factors help to determine an officer's decision to engage a person who is mentally ill? What factors help an officer to determine how they engage with a mentally ill individual? What do officers do once they make contact with someone who is struggling with mental illness? How do officers decide if a person struggling with mental illness should be arrested or should be taken to treatment? What kind of training do officers receive on mental health and de-escalation?
This panel will seek to answer these questions and to explore the different challenges and approaches of law enforcement as they tackle this difficult public health issue. The panels is comprised of Chief Jason Van Meter of Black Butte Police Department, Captain Aaron Wells of Redmond Police Department; Sergeant Tommy Russell of Bend Police Department; Deputy Kevin Riding of Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, and Holly Harris Program Manager of Deschutes County Behavioral Health Crisis Program.
Holly Harris is a Program Manager for Deschutes County Health Services. She moved here from Texas 8 years ago and has been with Deschutes County since that time. She currently oversees all Crisis and Forensic Diversion services, including the Deschutes County Stabilization Center (DCSC) and has focused on the intersection of the criminal justice and behavioral health system for most of her career. While living in Texas, she was the Director of Juvenile Probation for Wharton County and has worked with children, adults, and families in both crisis and private practice settings. In addition, Holly has trained nationally on topics such as Evidenced-Based Practices, Motivational Interviewing and Risk Assessments and has been working in the behavioral health field for over 17 years.
Captain Wells was born and raised in Southern California and came to Oregon to play football at the Oregon State University. He graduated in 2000, got married and became a youth pastor and educator for three years before moving to Bend, Oregon to start a church. Captain Wells worked at Summit High School for three years as a campus monitor and was encouraged to try law enforcement. It wasn't until after the recession in 2007 that he applied with Redmond PD and was hired in April of 2007. Since being hired he has been a detective, swat team sniper, DRE, Patrol sergeant, Det. Sergeant and Det. Lieutenant prior to becoming Captain in January of this year.
Tommy Russell is a sergeant for the Bend Police Department and is currently assigned to the patrol division. One of his many passions is working with people in crisis. He was an early adopter of the CIT program and attended one of the first trainings held in Deschutes County in 2013. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from the California State University, San Bernardino. He has been with the City of Bend Police Department since September of 2006. During his time at the Bend Police Department he has worked patrol, spent a combined total of 5 years as a general crimes detective, and was a marksman-observer on the regional SWAT team (Central Oregon Emergency Response). He also enjoys raising Nigerian Dwarf goats with his wife and children as part of 4-H and fly-fishing.
Chief Van Meter is currently the Chief of Police at the Black Butte Ranch Police Department and has a BS in Psychology and an MBA from Willamette University. Chief Van Meter enlisted in the US Navy in 1996 and served as a Navy Corpsman with the Fleet Marine Force until 1998. In 1998, Chief Van Meter was commissioned as an Infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps. In 2004 Chief Van Meter was hired by the Salem Police Department. Shortly after completing field training at the PD, Chief Van Meter joined the USMC reserves in Portland, Oregon. As a Marine, Chief Van Meter was deployed to Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan for two tours. Chief Van Meter retired in 2018 as a Lieutenant Colonel.
Kevin Riding has worked for the Deschutes County Sherriff's Office in a variety of capacities including as a Corrections Deputy from Sept 2007-April 2010 and as a Patrol Deputy from April 2010-current. Kevin is a CIT trained, SWAT Hostage Crisis Negotiator, a Patrol Deputy Trainer (FTEP), Intermediate Level Spanish Translator, a DCSO Peer Support Team Leader, and a DCSO, De-Escalation Instructor. Kevin earned his BS in Manufacturing Engineering Technology from Brigham Young University 2004.