ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Earlier this month, three Rockford Police officers shot and killed an armed 18-year-old Rockford man. We've since learned he was bipolar and only had a pellet gun. The victim's family is now questioning whether police did everything they could before opening fire. More than 100 Rockford police officers have some sort of crisis intervention training under their belts, but today at roll call they got even more advice on how to handle people who are having mental breakdowns.
Workers from Rosecrance Health Network have been talking to Rockford police about the new triage center that's supposed to open in a week. Today police officers were able to ask questions and get answers about what to do when dealing with people who are in crisis. Instead of taking people to the hospital, Rosecrance wants police officers to refer people to the new center which is designed to help stabilize people quickly.
"You're taking someone who is in a fragile state and you’re taking them to a very busy, sometimes loud emergency room, and then tying up the officer to have to sit there or wait in the waiting room until a physician can come an evaluate and someone from Janet Wattles,” said Lt. Pat Hoey with Rockford Police.
Starting Monday, officers can take people to the triage center instead, which will be open 24 hours a day. Rosecrance says the decision to show up at roll calls this week has nothing to do with the shooting of 18-year-old Logan Bell. They say it was planned weeks ago and they will not comment on whether crisis intervention training would have saved his life.
The new triage center will only take people who are having non-violent mental breakdowns. They won't take anyone who is violent, intoxicated or on drugs and they only take 7 people at a time. However, it will keep officers from having to waste time in the emergency room.