CALIFORNIA—The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has increased the departments number of Mental Health Evaluation teams also known as MET teams. The MET units have increased to 29, where in 2015, the unit consisted of five Mental Health Mobile co-response teams. In 2015, funding was not available to support the teams coverage of the county of Los Angeles.
The increase in MET units will serve as a safety measure to the community by assisting with individuals who suffer from mental health issues.
MET units consort with a clinician of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and appear on the scene when they are needed by deputies and other law enforcement personnel. When a call is received by the sheriff’s department, these special units deal with individuals who may be a danger to themselves or someone else.
Los Angeles County tweeted on Monday, September 9 “L.A. County officials today unveiled a new fleet of vans to transport people experiencing mental health crises. Each van will be staffed with a clinician and a peer support specialist, in addition to a 40-inch monitor for teleconferencing with a psychiatrist en route.”
The LASD’s calls have increased 72 percent in recent years, NBC4 Los Angeles first reported. It led to an increase of 60 MET units for Los Angeles County. The increase was approved by the Board of Supervisors.
The expansion will allow operations 24 hours a day 7 days a week to fill the coverage gap. MET units include an intervention specialist, arriving on the scene in specialized vehicles, for patients that need to be transported.
The goal is to decrease the amount of force including the use of handcuffs for an individual being arrested and the safety of residents. Within the first three years, deputies working with MET units have over 1000 hours of training under their belt.