Boise Police Chief Bill Bones
Last week at a community conversation about police issues hosted by Boise State Public Radio
, new Boise Police Chief Bill Bones leaked details
about a new position opening soon at BPD. Today, Bones outlined the job description, employment details and significance of what will be the department's first mental health coordinator.
"There are so many people in our community that suffer from mental health issues, and police officers are running into those people on a daily basis," Bones said.
The new Mental Health Coordinator (MHC) will conduct Boise Police officer education on mental health, as well as craft police response to those suffering from chronic and acute mental health crises within the department; but the MHC will have outreach responsibilities, as well, reaching out to service providers and community stakeholders to form a coordinated community response. The coordinated community response, Bones said, will help increase the effectiveness and efficiency of identifying mental health issues in the community and connecting citizens with appropriate services.
Better understanding of these kinds of crises, Bones said, will help BPD respond in a safer, more effective manner in the future. The MHC would be able to provide ongoing education to officers. It's all part of an effort to make BPD more proactive in addressing community concerns.
"We're constantly trying to improve the way that the skills, tools and manner in which we deal with those who have mental illness," Bones said. "We think this needs a bigger focus."
The MHC will not require a law enforcement background, Bones said, but will need to have a background in mental health, a knowledge of mental health services available in Boise and skills related to building community partnerships.
Bones told Boise Weekly
that the list of applicants for the position has been narrowed to three, with the top applicant undergoing a background check now. He said he expects that person to begin undertaking his or her responsibilities in the next 30-45 days. Pay for the position will be between $54,000-$81,000 per year, and will probably begin in the low-$60,000 range.