The requirement to staff a registered nurse will negatively impact law enforcement in a time where beds are already nearly impossible to find. Our CSB has done a great job with finding solutions to the current problems we are facing and has done all it can to take some of the burden off of law enforcement officers. This requirement will essentially end the progress we have made. At this time, everyone is understaffed. Hospitals, law enforcement agencies, crisis workers, and other frontline professions are struggling to find help. It isn't because they aren't trying, people just aren't coming through the doors looking for work. It is extremely unlikely that RNs can be found prior to these guidelines becoming mandated.
The regional crisis hotline will be just another turn off course in the disaster that our law enforcement officers have been facing with mental health efficiency now for years. We have a good relationship with our existing emergency crisis workers and we have worked together to tackle the challenges of the extremely difficult landscape we find ourselves in today. To add another element to the process of screening will further delay what seems to have become the inevitable answer at the end of an 8 hour period, no bed space.
There have been many recent attempts to overhaul the mental health system in Virginia. Sadly, today we find it in the worst shape that I have seen it in during my 19 year career. The answer seems to have always been more regulation without funding. Law enforcement is strapped to the maximum for manpower right now. I know that everyone involved here probably is too. At the end of the day, it seems that we have very little say as stakeholders in this process. Listen to your stakeholders and find long-term solutions to the problems we are facing. That starts with better funding for all involved.