LETTER: Can request be ignored?

Reader wants more detail on Nelson Police's Car 87 proposal.

Re: “Police see large spike in mental health calls”

Recently the Nelson Star drew attention to a “dramatic increase” in the number of mental health crisis calls to the Nelson Police department between January 2014 and 2015 as well as a steady increase over the past five years. The front page article featured an interview with the police chief.

CBC Radio West soon after interviewed both chief Wayne Holland and a representative from Interior Health. Since that time I have seen or heard little to no coverage or follow up to the issue. Police chief Holland brought up the need for a different approach than what is currently in place and how in his mind the Car 87 approach is the solution (having a trained mental health worker riding along with the police).

When interviewed by CBC, the representative from Interior Health indicated that Car 87 was not a priority at this time. He had little else to say and posed no real solutions. Various people I have spoken with have hinted that Chief Holland’s approach comes across as confrontational and that there are reasons the Car 87 approach would not be appropriate to Nelson — budgetary and otherwise. Perhaps the police chief’s approach comes across in a confrontational manner because he and his coworkers are over-stressed and dealing directly with this matter on a daily basis?

Would the Star be interested in pursuing this story further? If Car87 is not the solution is there another option or a community and stakeholders discussion which could be had?  As someone living in down-town Nelson I have regularly witnessed the Nelson Police Department exercising great patience in situations they have been called to resolve.

Clearly a request has been made for help in accessing additional resources. Can we afford to continue ignoring this request?

Nic Cornell

Nelson