Crisis intervention community town hall held in South Bend

Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 11:25 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - On Tuesday, people gathered for a town hall at the St. Joseph County Public Library to discuss a mental health crisis response team.

This, coming after the death of 51-year-old Dante Kittrell, who was shot and killed by police officers last month after allegedly threatening suicide and pointing what appeared to be a handgun at officers.

“They would not let me go to my baby. They pushed me back,” said Kittrell’s Mother, Marcia Kittrell.

Officers and critical incident negotiators attempted to de-escalate the situation for nearly 40 minutes but were unsuccessful.

There have been renewed calls to invest in non-law-enforcement, clinician led crisis response teams.

Faith and community leaders have also been calling on the police department to shift ten percent of its budget to mobile crisis response and mental health services.

South Bend Common Council member Henry Davis Jr. co-authored a Mental health Crisis Response Resolution, but it was tabled by the council.

“We are just working really hard, trying to be accountable to the citizens of the city. South Bend needs to be a livable city. People should be able to access resources that they need,” said Davis.

Davis said other communities across the United States have implemented crisis response teams, and said they have been effective.

“We have a model that we are looking at that is in Indianapolis as well. It’s called MCAT, Mental Crisis Assistance Team, and they go out with officers when someone is called to a tragic situation,” said Davis.

“And we know who to talk to to try and figure out how to make them work. We know the people in the community who are already working really hard to help people live through, and become survivors, rather than victims of trauma.”

“Well, the funding has to come from the budget. We’ve got a lot of money from the Biden Administration to help support these sorts of initiatives...Monies that haven’t been used within our public safety divisions...,” said Davis.

Community leaders said they want to create a team and staff them immediately.

“To reach the point in our history where it’s common to have rapid response trauma teams...and what plans we need to make it happen.”