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Senate passes measure clarifying mentally ill patient transport for law enforcement Featured

Written by  Wednesday, 06 March 2019 21:21
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Press release


OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. David Bullard authored Senate Bill 609 to provide clarification to local and county law enforcement regarding the transporting of mentally ill patients. The Senate unanimously approved the measure Tuesday.

“There has been confusion as to which law enforcement agency is responsible for transporting mentally ill patients when one agency found the individual but the other was called about the person. Senate Bill 609 clarifies that it is the agency that found the patient that will transport that individual,” said Bullard, R-Durant. “This will help stop the shuffling of patients that’s currently happening while agencies try to figure out who has jurisdiction and get them the care they need faster.”

SB 609 clarifies the definition of “initial contact”. Under current law, the agency that has initial contact with an individual is responsible for transporting. The bill will change that to the agency that initially found the individual. The measure requires municipal law enforcement to be responsible for the transportation of someone initially contacted within the boundaries of their municipality and county law enforcement to be responsible for the transportation of a person initially contacted within their county, but outside of a municipality. A licensed mental health professional must document the location of the initial contact to determine jurisdiction for the responsible transporting agency. If no such professional is available, the law enforcement agency holding the person will be responsible for transportation.

Bullard worked with various sheriff’s departments, police departments and the Department of Mental Health on the legislation.

SB 609, which has no fiscal impact, will now move to the House

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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