TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Police work often involves mental health work, and the Tucson Police Department will be helping other law enforcement departments across the nation deal with situations where people having mental health emergencies, can endanger lives.
A new program that the TPD is involved in will allow officers to train other departments around the U.S. on the collaboration of police with mental health agencies. All in an effort to keep the people that need treatment out of the Pima County Jail.
One such case that benefited from this new program is Sam Nagy.
"I wake up in the morning I feel like I have peace," said Nagy, who now lives a life free from drugs. "I have hope."
However, that was not the case when Nagy was a teen. At 16, he was diagnosed as bi-polar, that was also when he started using drugs.
"I started to self medicate and use crack cocaine and alcohol and more marijuana until I turned 18, and I got arrested for the first time," said Nagy.
15 arrests and a year spent in jail. He knew he broke the law, but felt it was everyone else's problem.
"Every time I went to jail I lost everything. Every time I lost everything, I had to start over again," he said. That was until he went to Mental Health Court and it changed his life.
The court is just one of the tools that the Mental Health Support Teams or MHST for short, uses. That and the Crisis Response Center.
The TPD is already getting interest about their programs. Two weeks ago the San Diego Police Department reached out to TPD about training their officers.