MIST program focuses on treatment instead of jail - Tucson News Now

MIST program focuses on treatment instead of jail

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A presentation Tuesday night provided members of the Citizen Police Advisory Review Board with a better understanding of how local law enforcement handle mental health situations.

Captain Paul Sayre outlined the MIST program, which stands for Multidisciplinary Intensive Support Treatment. As the name suggests, Sayre said, the focus for the program is treatment for suspects who are potentially mentally ill.

“One thing we know about mental health treatment is that when we keep patients in treatment, it's successful every time,” he told the board.

So MIST works to keep suspects in treatment, instead of jail, after they're evaluated. Sayre said it starts with responding to certain calls with unmarked cars and plain-clothed officers to keep a situation from escalating.

“At some point the community is going to demand, what's law enforcement doing,” said Sayre. “And our response is we're taking a really proactive effort to steer those folks into treatment.”

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