Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

Despite concerns over recent incidents between law enforcement and citizens, Interior Health (IH) says it’s not looking at expanding the Police and Crisis Team program (PACT) in the region.

Following a press conference this week held by the Southeast Division Chief Superintendent of the RCMP on the issue of police interaction, Karen Bloemink, vice-president of clinical operations for IH North said Thursday (July 2) that while IH remains committed to partnering with RCMP and the communities, the health authority doesn’t believe boosting PACT service is the solution.

“Mental health is a challenge being experienced across B.C. and Canada, and a single service enhancement will not address the complex situations Interior Health, our municipal partners and the RCMP face daily, particularly during a time of two public health emergencies,” she stated.

Her comments and the comments of Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli come after a video was released at the end of June showing Kelowna RCMP officer Const. Lacey Browning dragging UBCO student Mona Wang down a hall and pressing her head to the floor with a boot during a wellness check.

Browning is facing a civil suit for that incident. A petition calling for her to be fired and charged has garnered over 350,000 signatures. Currently, Browning remains with the Kelowna detachment on desk duty.

READ MORE: RCMP brass addresses concerns over recent actions of police in the Southeast District

Haugli said he reached out to the CEO of IH to discuss the expansion of the PACT program in the Southeast District.

“My goal is to greatly expand this needed service (PACT) in existing locations and it is not always available, and introduce it in as many communities as possible,” stated Haugli.

The PACT consists of a dedicated psychiatric nurse and a specially trained RCMP officer who patrol the streets and respond to calls.

Bloemink said the PACT team sees an average of four to five clients per shift in Kelowna, while in Kamloops, the Car40 team sees approximately three clients per shift.

”This model is not the most effective use of health care resources, especially when we know there is a much more significant demand for mental health services for the whole population,” she said. “Mental health nurses are highly skilled, valuable resources and they are able to reach more people through team-based models of service where care is delivered in a proactive way.”

READ MORE: Petition calling for Kelowna Mountie to be fired, charged nears 350K signatures

According to Bloemink, team-based models are different than those that are based on responding to calls during a crisis.

“In those situations, when there is a crisis, we have an opportunity to work with our partners and make sure they know how to access emergency mental health services. This work is underway already – it is ongoing work with our partners at the RCMP and in communities,” she explained.

Since 2017, IH has invested more efforts into intensive case management, assertive community treatment and community substance use treatment to engage people in treatment and to provide access to a team of resources (nurses, social workers, addictions workers and psychiatrists).

Kelowna’s Mayor Colin Basran weighed in on the comments made by Haugli following the press conference, stating he and city manager Doug Gilchrist will be meeting with IH next week to talk about the increasing numbers of calls for assistance on mental health incidents and how best to proceed.


@Jen_zee
jen.zielinski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The District of Lake Country saw its number of overdose calls double in 2020 over the previous year. (Black Press file photo)
Overdose calls doubled in Lake Country in 2020: report

The district’s protective services annual report shows there were 47 overdose calls last year

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Vernon husband and wife Jan (top) and Ken Waldon (with B.C. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin), were among 44 provincial recipients of the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for volunteerism. The awards were presented at a special ceremony earlier in September in Victoria. (Government House Victoria photos)
Fintry heritage site champion loses battle with illness

Ken Waldon was the leading proponent behind the creation of Friends of the Fintry Provincial Park Society

An application to construct housing units for temporary farm workers was supported by District of Lake Country council Tuesday, March 2, 2021. The applicant, Gurjinder Sandher, must now get approval from the Agricultural Land Commission. (Google Maps)
Lake Country supports farmer’s bid to build housing for temporary workers

The application to construct 40 permanent units on farmland is now pending ALC approval

Transition house program manager Melrose Tomlinson, from left, Archway Society co-executive director Sherry Demetrick, Men’s Shed club members John Halper, David Friesen, Harry Knopf and Sam Lachman collaborated on building a gazebo structure for the women rising in the home to use during their time outdoors. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star file)
Vernon men’s mental health club gains independence

Before becoming its own society, Men’s Shed was under the wings of the CMHA

About 50 people gathered Friday, March 5, 2021 in Penticton to protest city council’s decision to close a temporary winter shelter. (Jesse Day - Western News)
WATCH: Protest over Penticton shelter draws large crowd

People are gathering in Gyro Park to protest the closure of a winter shelter

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Princeton Traditional Music Festival, normally held in August, was denied a grant due to COVID. (File photo)
COVID makes some of the 2021 grant decisions for Princeton council

Municipality doles out funds while striving to meet policy

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

Most Read