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Mental health and criminal justice in Maricopa County

(KTAR Photo/Mike O'Neil)

The police get a call for service. When they arrive, they encounter a person with obvious mental problems who has caused a disturbance or committed an illegal act of some sort.

What options do the police have under such circumstances? Do they arrest and put the mentally-disturbed offender in jail? Or are there viable alternatives?

Or someone is arrested, put in jail, and it becomes evident that they have severe mental problems. What options does the jail have?

This week’s Think Tank explores what options are available in Maricopa County, how these have changed over the years and how police and jail staff are trained to deal with situations like these.

Our guests include two mental health experts Dr. Dawn Noggle and Sheley Curran, retired Scottsdale Police lieutenant Frank O’Halloran, and citizen activist Mary Lou Brnick.