McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

January 25, 2014

Dealing with emergency detention

ENID, Okla. — Last year, Enid Police Department officers traveled more than 40,000 miles and spent more than 3,000 hours transporting individuals for evaluations at state mental health facilities.

EPD figures show officers made more than 150 transports to facilities approved by the commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for evaluation by a licensed mental health professional, as mandated by state law.

Such evaluations are required by law if a person is deemed a danger to themselves or others as a result of a mental health problem.

Studies show that more than 620,000 Oklahoma adults suffer from mental illness, according to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

It’s the law

State law requires officers take an individual into protective custody and detain a person they believe requires treatment, and request a licensed mental health professional conduct an emergency examination.

Once a person is taken into protective custody, they must be transported by law enforcement to a facility designated by the commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, as appropriate for an emergency examination.

While at the designated facility, a licensed mental health professional must conduct an emergency examination.

By law, the emergency examination must take place within 12 hours of the time law enforcement first took the person into protective custody. If the examination is not conducted within the 12-hour period, the person must be released and returned by officers to the place they were taken into protective custody, to their residence or another location.

The initial examination by the licensed mental health professional determines if the individual brought to the facility by law enforcement officers requires treatment, such that an emergency order of detention (EOD) is warranted.

If the mental health professional does not believe the person is a danger to himself, herself or others as the result of a mental illness, the person must be released and returned by law enforcement to the place where he or she was taken into protective custody, to a residence or another location.

If after the emergency examination the mental health professional believes the person is a danger to himself, herself or others, the person must be placed in emergency detention.

If the facility where the emergency examination was conducted is not a facility designated by the state, law enforcement must transport the person to the facility.

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