BALTIMORE — After Baltimore police officers shot a man who pulled a firearm while undergoing a behavioral health crisis last week, the organization that oversees the city’s behavioral health services called the current system “a total failure” that needs better integration of mental health professionals with the police.
There is no indication that police dispatchers attempted to connect available behavioral health resources with officers on the scene before they shot Ricky Walker Jr. on July 1, said Adrienne Breidenstine, vice president of policy and communications for Behavioral Health System Baltimore.
“This incident with Mr. Walker highlights a total failure of our two systems,” Breidenstine said. “We need to get police the heck out of there and not even be handling these types of calls.”
The city has two so-called crisis response teams that handle mental health issues, one inside the police department and another at the nonprofit Baltimore Crisis Response