Transport Bill Waiting On Governor’s Signature
A bill that would allow Pike County law enforcement to help individuals with possible mental illness is waiting on Governor Kay Ivey’s signature.
Current Pike County laws do not allow local law enforcement to help people they encounter who show signs of possible mental illness.
“If a police officer were to come upon a person exhibiting symptoms of mental illness, but nothing related to law enforcement, they don’t have the ability to do anything,” Pike County Probate Judge Michael Bunn says.
The laws could be about to change. A transport bill, recently passed by both the Senate and the House, is currently waiting on the governor’s signature before it becomes a law.
“We’ve allowed them now to help that person so we’ve given that person with mental illness the same ability to recieve quick treatment the same way they were if they were to have a gun shot wound,” Bunn says,
The bill lets law enforcement take the individuals to the local hospital, where medical professionals could place an involuntary hold for up to 72 hours. During that timeframe, evaluation and testing can take place to determine if the person suspected mental health issues.
“It gives our hospital the ability to treat those people even if they don’t think they need treatment,” Bunn says.
There are some protections for the individuals. Bunn says the bill protects the person’s civil rights.
“If the medical professionals determine that that person isn’t in need of medical illness treatment, they’ll be returned home,” Bunn says.
Bunn hopes the bill will help give treatment to those with mental illness before a crime is committed.
He says Representative Wes Allen, the East Central Mental Health Center, and others contributed to the bill
The bill would go into effect 90 days after the bill is signed.