Shooting of man by Baltimore police highlights ‘total failure’ of city’s behavioral health response, agency says

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

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England’s under-fire public health agency plays key role, PM’s spokesman says

LONDON (Reuters) – Public Health England is playing a key role in Britain’s response to the coronavirus crisis, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday, responding to criticism of the body for slowness in tackling the pandemic.

But he also pointed to new structures formed since the crisis began, such as a test and trace system and the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which brings together data analysis and epidemiological expertise to try to combat outbreaks.

In a Reuters special report, several scientists criticised Public Health England (PHE) for not helping Britain move quickly enough to implement a widespread testing regime by deciding, among other things, a narrower definition of COVID-19 than the World Health Organization and other countries.

In turn, public health officials told Reuters that the government initially ordered the agency not to share with local councils its surveillance reports.

Asked whether PHE was under threat, the

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