Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

Despite concerns over recent incidents between law enforcement and citizens, Interior Health (IH) says it’s not looking at expanding the Police and Crisis Team program (PACT) in the region.

Following a press conference this week held by the Southeast Division Chief Superintendent of the RCMP on the issue of police interaction, Karen Bloemink, vice-president of clinical operations for IH North said Thursday (July 2) that while IH remains committed to partnering with RCMP and the communities, the health authority doesn’t believe boosting PACT service is the solution.

“Mental health is a challenge being experienced across B.C. and Canada, and a single service enhancement will not address the complex situations Interior Health, our municipal partners and the RCMP face daily, particularly during a time of two public health emergencies,” she stated.

Her comments and the comments of Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli come after a video was released at the end of June showing Kelowna RCMP officer Const. Lacey Browning dragging UBCO student Mona Wang down a hall and pressing her head to the floor with a boot during a wellness check.

Browning is facing a civil suit for that incident. A petition calling for her to be fired and charged has garnered over 350,000 signatures. Currently, Browning remains with the Kelowna detachment on desk duty.

READ MORE: RCMP brass addresses concerns over recent actions of police in the Southeast District

Haugli said he reached out to the CEO of IH to discuss the expansion of the PACT program in the Southeast District.

“My goal is to greatly expand this needed service (PACT) in existing locations and it is not always available, and introduce it in as many communities as possible,” stated Haugli.

The PACT consists of a dedicated psychiatric nurse and a specially trained RCMP officer who patrol the streets and respond to calls.

Bloemink said the PACT team sees an average of four to five clients per shift in Kelowna, while in Kamloops, the Car40 team sees approximately three clients per shift.

”This model is not the most effective use of health care resources, especially when we know there is a much more significant demand for mental health services for the whole population,” she said. “Mental health nurses are highly skilled, valuable resources and they are able to reach more people through team-based models of service where care is delivered in a proactive way.”

READ MORE: Petition calling for Kelowna Mountie to be fired, charged nears 350K signatures

According to Bloemink, team-based models are different than those that are based on responding to calls during a crisis.

“In those situations, when there is a crisis, we have an opportunity to work with our partners and make sure they know how to access emergency mental health services. This work is underway already – it is ongoing work with our partners at the RCMP and in communities,” she explained.

Since 2017, IH has invested more efforts into intensive case management, assertive community treatment and community substance use treatment to engage people in treatment and to provide access to a team of resources (nurses, social workers, addictions workers and psychiatrists).

Kelowna’s Mayor Colin Basran weighed in on the comments made by Haugli following the press conference, stating he and city manager Doug Gilchrist will be meeting with IH next week to talk about the increasing numbers of calls for assistance on mental health incidents and how best to proceed.


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Nelson Police responded to 802 calls last year they say had an element of mental health. File photo
Nelson Police: 802 mental-health related calls in 2020

That accounts for 12 per cent of total calls for service

Several large trees came down in the recent windstorm and destroyed a part of the building that houses Camp Koolaree’s showers and boy’s washroom. The camp has served generations of Kootenay families since 1931 as the Nelson area’s longest running children’s summer camp. Photo: Submitted
Camp Koolaree’s wash house destroyed by January windstorms

The camp is in need of donations to make repairs

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
MP Morrison calls Keystone XL permit cancellation ‘devastating news’

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to the Conservative Party’s removal of a controversial Ontario MP

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

Most Read