The regular meeting of the Hardin County Commissioners Court convened on Tuesday, Jan. 15, to address a number of action items on a lengthy agenda.
A detailed discussion requested authorization of an Interlocal Cooperative Contract between the county and Spindletop Center for the Mental Health Liaison Program.
Hardin County Sheriff Mark Davis explained that the agreement allows for federal and state Health and Human Services Commission funding to provide for a mental healthcare officer.
“It is money that allows local jurisdictions to hire a peace officer to address mental health needs in rural areas,” he said.
The program is already ongoing with deputies in Chambers, Orange, and Jefferson Counties, so that Hardin County will team-up others in the region.
It will save money, time, and potentially lives states the sheriff.
“The program focuses on early intervention and diversion before a person may be wandering the streets or goes into crisis,” Davis said.
The goal is to keep people in mental crisis out jail; he said: “to reduce mental health inmates inside the county jail, it’s not a criminal violation.”
A dedicated mental health officer will team-up with a mental health profession in a two-person police unit actively reaching out to people in need of mental health help and their family members.
Davis says the outreach could consist of getting a person into outpatient services or checking on their medication intake.
“The program saves money and improves the quality of life for those in need of mental health assistance before a crisis occurs,” he said.
The salary, fringes and most of the equipment will be paid for by the program, excepting roughly $5,000 needed for the vehicle cost.
“We do several (mental health calls) a day, Davis said, “at a huge cost in time and services to the department.”
Commissioners passed the request in the affirmative.
In other news, the court accepted a donation of $1,000 from Renee Pomeroy which will be used for safety equipment, according to Commissioner L. W. Cooper, Jr.
Approval of the 2019 Hardin County Atlas and the multi-county outside detention contracts for the Juvenile Probation Department also passed through the commission.
Sharon Wornick was approved as Commissioner of Village Mills Emergency Services District #8, filling the vacancy created by the resignation of Lora Guynes.
Commissioners also approved the solicitation of Statements of Qualification for epidemiological services for the Hardin County Health Department.
The final approval passed for the Road and Bridge division to solicit bids for materials and emulsions for all precincts.