Postitive Outcomes
Of Oregon's approximately 3.8 million residents, data from mental health organizations reveals nearly 137,000 adults and about 39,000 children live with serious mental health conditions.  In 2006, 579 Oregonians died by suicide which is often the result of untreated or undertreated mental illness.  A report recently completed by the Portland Police Bureau indicated there were a total of 202 suicides, between April 2011 through June 2013; with a rate of 34.4 per 100,000, over that time period. This was nearly three times the 2010 national rate of 12.4 per 100,000. Nationally, we lose one life to suicide every 15.8 minutes. Suicide is the eleventh-leading cause of death overall and is the third-leading cause of death among youth and young adults aged 15-24.  The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that nationwide over 280,000 offenders incarcerated in prisons or jails suffer from mental illness. An additional 550,000 mentally ill individuals are in the probation systems. 

In today's world, law enforcement is being confronted on a daily basis with those suffering from mental and medical health issues. In the 2015 Legislative Session, the legislature provided funds to the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) to help bolster their training efforts in this critical area. DPSST was able to hire two full-time staff who are dedicated to providing training on mental health crisis responders both at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem and on a regional basis.  DPSST's training efforts will support the delivery of mental health incident response training to Oregon's 18,000 public safety personnel. This training will be offered to law enforcement, corrections, parole and probation, fire-rescue and 9-1-1 personnel who interact with residents of Oregon on a daily basis who may have a form of mental illness. Public safety personnel also often encounter active-duty or former members of the armed forces and should know the signs of combat stress injury and adaptive behaviors so they can successfully interact and assist veterans with combat-related trauma.  DPSST's training program is innovative and shows the great work done by our public safety community with legislative support and assistance.

The work DPSST has done since the program was started is impressive. DPSST has already hired a Mental Health Crisis Response Coordinator and will be selecting a Public Safety Mental Health Clinician soon. DPSST has also bolstered the mental health crisis intervention training it offers in its basic training classes for police, corrections, parole and probation, and 9-1-1 operators. DPSST staff is working to development regional crisis intervention teams (CIT) in counties around the state.  Benton, Linn, Yamhill, Polk and Klamath counties are on the schedule for this training.  DPSST is also developing a statewide network of CIT/Crisis Response Teams so that agencies can interact and share best practices around the state. 

DPSST along with the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police and Oregon State Sheriff's Association have developed a work group specifically for incidents involving suicidal persons and people in crisis. Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley is one of the members selected for this work group. While the group was formed by law enforcement, it will include fire-rescue, EMS, 9-1-1 and mental health representatives.  The group has a number of tasks which show the complexity of this issue. The group will look at training, standardized statewide response protocol, de-escalation by law enforcement officers, mental health resources around the state, and use of the statewide Medical Health Database that was created as a result of HB 3466, which I sponsored. 

As both a retired law enforcement officer and State Representative, I know this issue is important to my district and the entire state. I am pleased that our state is taking a proactive approach and am pleased to help support the efforts underway. 

Looking Ahead

Although the legislature is not in session, I remain busier than you might expect. I thought I'd share a few items on my calendar for the next few weeks, and perhaps you might be interested in attending some of these events as well.

  • Public Safety Task Force Meeting - Capitol at 2pm on April 26th
  • Albany Helping Hands Banquet - Linn County Fairgrounds at 6pm on April 28th
  • Corvallis Rotary (speaking with Rep. Rayfield) - Corvallis Country Club at 12pm on April 29th
  • All Oregon Academic Team Luncheon/Awards - Salem Conference Center at 11:30am at the Salem Conference Center on May 3rd
  • Fallen Law Enforcement Officers Memorial - DPSST at 1pm on May 3rd 
  • Criminal Justice Commission RIC Meeting - Linn County at 1pm on May 5th
  • OR Rising Town Hall with GAPS - North Albany Middle School at 6pm on May 10th
  • Willamette Criminal Justice Commission (speaking about marijuana legislative changes) - Corvallis at 3pm on May 18th
  • Legislative Days - May 23rd-25th
These are just a few of the many events/meetings on my working calendar. I hope to see you out and about. As always, thank you for the continued support.

Until next month,

Oregon State Legislature, 900 Court Street NE, Salem, OR 97301
Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact