In the eight years since the program launched in Hamilton, there has been a marked reduction in taking people in mental health crisis into custody.
Before the mobile team, Hamilton police apprehended three out of every four people they were called to assist. Their latest figures show a 70 per cent reduction to fewer than one in five.
"You'll see a full range. It might be as horrible as somebody up on a bridge threatening to jump," Burtenshaw told Dr. Brian Goldman, host of White Coat Black Art.
"It might be somebody saying, 'Listen, I'm really worried about my mom. She's not answering the door. Can you do a wellness check?'"
* * * * *
Police tend to not know how to de-escalate an encounter with someone with mental health issues. Professionals who do know save lives.