37.2 F

Reno Police program works to keep mentally ill citizens out of jail



The Mobile Outreach Safety Team has been working to improve the safety of our community by providing assistance to those afflicted with mental illness. Since the inception, MOST has managed to keep numerous citizens out of an endless cycle in the criminal justice system.

A byproduct of the collaboration between the Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services and the Reno Police Department, the program pairs a licensed clinical social worker with a police officer to create a skilled intervention team for persons who suffer from mental illness and encounter law enforcement during crisis events.

MOST accommodates the public by providing psychiatric emergency response and maintenance check-ups on previous patients. In 2011, three out of four contacts made by MOST involved a client who was not currently connected to mental health services at the time of the initial contact. MOST was created in the hope that it would reduce the imprisonment of local mentally ill citizens while simultaneously increasing the safety of the general public.

In an analysis of MOST data from 2011, it was found that when the MOST clinicians and their law enforcement associates get someone connected to service, they are potentially preventing tragedy later. Various success stories have thus been conceived due to the intervention of the local program.

Jane A [name protected due to confidentiality] was without income, suffering from undiagnosed and therefore, untreated psychiatric conditions, under the influence of illegal substances, and resistant to taking prescribed medication, which had led to dozens of contacts with first responders and the criminal justice system by the time MOST was first contacted. MOST professionals began visiting her every week during the time of her containment. After Jane was released, MOST assisted her to a facility, where she was able to obtain psychiatric treatment and stabilize herself. Jane currently continues her contact with MOST members and has had no police encounters since her release.

Similar stories have become more frequent after the Mobile Outreach Safety Team program was implemented.

The MOST program has an average of 75 to 125 contacts with individuals each month, continually working to ensure the safety of the community and its citizens. In 2011 the MOST had a total of 721 contacts and this did not include multiple contacts with the same individual.

For further information on the local program visit www.reno.gov or contact the Reno Police Department Community Action Office at 775-657-4543.

This Is Reno is your source for award-winning independent, online Reno news and events since 2009. We are locally owned and operated.