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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Washington Reports 611 Coronavirus Cases, Highest Daily Total Yet

SEATTLE, WA — Wednesday, state health officials confirmed seven new deaths linked to COVID-19 in Washington and 611 new confirmed cases of the disease.

Though that is not the highest daily death toll Washington has seen, it is the highest number of new coronavirus cases the state has reported in a single day. On one hand, officials say it’s good that many of the new cases are not ending in deaths, but on the other, extra cases means extra opportunities for the virus to be transmitted to an elderly or high risk patient.

Health officials in both Pierce and King counties have recently gone on record to confirm that many of their new coronavirus cases have been in younger adults aged 20-39, and that they’re worried those young, more mobile adults may go on to spread the disease to vulnerable populations.

To prevent a surge in new deaths, health officials

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