GC provides iPads to aid FtG police
The MyCare app links officers directly to GC clinician to help those with mental illness, substance abuse. Additional iPads are on order for Muskogee PD, as well.
The following article recently appeared in the Muskogee Phoenix newspaper.
New tablet computers with a MyCare app can help Fort Gibson Police link people with mental illness directly with counselors, said Police Chief Rob Frazier.
“Sometimes, when people are stressed like that or have those kind of feelings, time is of the essence,” Frazier said. “If we can talk to someone quickly like this allows us to do, it makes all the difference in the world.”
Frazier said the department received 12 tablet computers Monday morning from Green Country Behavioral Health.
“They offered them to us. It came through a grant.” Frazier said GCBH Chief Executive Officer Joy Sloan said the health service applied for CARES Act funds to help improve technology for law enforcement.
“We had been in conversation with Chief Frazier about ways to better support the Fort Gibson Police and community before we were actually awarded the funding,” Sloan said. “So the timing was perfect.”
Frazier said he obtained similar tablets about a year ago for Muskogee County Sheriff’s Department, when he was sheriff.
“They won’t do anything other than call a Green Country employee,” he said. “You have two choices. If it’s a juvenile, you push one button. If it’s an adult, you push another. It will automatically ring a number of Green Country professionals, someone will pick it up, and you will be allowed face time with that professional. We can either talk to them or whoever we’re dealing with can talk to them about issues.”
He recalled one call involving a potentially suicidal person.
“In the past, you would load them up to get them an actual evaluation,” he said. “This way, you can allow them to speak to someone, and just help de-escalate the situation, put them at ease.”
The tablet allows officers to get back on the street faster, he said.
Sloan said the tablets use the MyCare app, which links law enforcement directly to a clinician.
“Ideally, it could save an officer time so they are not transporting someone to see us,” she said. “We complete the evaluation over the iPad.”
She said GCBH wants officers to spend the least amount of time possible with someone needing mental health or substance abuse services.
Officers, or their families, also can use the tablet, Sloan said.
“COVID-19 has created unique circumstances and challenges, especially for first responders,” she said. “Law enforcement officers might be in direct contact or indirectly exposed. We want to do all we can to support our officers.”
Frazier said the tablets are just like the ones he got at the sheriff’s office about a year ago.
“It went pretty well. We know of one instance where it probably saved a life,” he said.
By Cathy Spaulding