White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)

White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

White Rock’s top cop says his detachment has become a “default mental health response agency” and that this reality – of routinely responding to calls that are more appropriate for a healthcare professional – “denies people in crisis a proper service.”

In a report released Monday (Oct. 19), titled ‘The intersection of mental health and policing in White Rock,’ Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls shares statistics and recommendations for change, including one suggesting that the City of White Rock start billing Fraser Health for mental-health apprehensions in which waits for assessment at Peace Arch Hospital (PAH) exceed 30 minutes.

“The prioritizing at hospitals of mental health apprehensions for assessment has been problematic across many hospitals and is not isolated to White Rock,” Pauls notes in the report.

He explains that at Peace Arch Hospital, patients apprehended under the Mental Health Act (MHA) wait – in police custody – anywhere from 2.5 to six hours in emergency to be assessed by a doctor, while the maximum wait recommended by the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale that is used to prioritize emergency patients is 30 minutes for mental-health complaints.

A review of White Rock detachment files found that, annually, the city’s officers respond to around 150 such calls, resulting in approximately 375 hours of police time being spent at PAH waiting with such patients, rendering those officers unable to respond to other calls, including priority emergencies.

“As this issue has persisted for years, the White Rock RCMP suggests that the City of White Rock invoices Fraser Health in 15 minute increments for any mental health apprehension waits that exceed 30 minutes.”

Noting the billing practice aligns with that of BC Ambulance Service – which invoices hospitals for any waits in emergency that exceed 30 minutes – Pauls says the city following suit becomes a matter of fiscal accountability.

But the issue goes deeper than operational finances, Pauls says.

READ MORE: The intersection of mental health and policing in White Rock

The current police-response model that sees officers tasked out for reports of deteriorating mental health, suicidal thoughts and other wellness checks or MHA apprehensions “does not benefit some of society’s most vulnerable,” and, highlights “that our healthcare professionals need the support and mandate to deliver a robust frontline response.”

Pauls initiated a review of his detachment’s wellness checks, mental health calls and interactions with homeless people “to better understand why the police are taking on the responsibility of social and health issues that likely should be responded to by other specialized service providers.”

The review was underway when Pauls in August called for a “healthcare-led intervention model” for dealing with people whose criminal activities are clearly tied to mental health and substance use. That call followed the arrest of a woman who had been reported to White Rock RCMP more than 65 times in 2020 as of that month.

READ MORE: White Rock’s top cop calls for ‘healthcare led intervention model’

Pauls said at that time that with no system in place for people to report mental-health concerns that would invoke a more appropriate, specialized response, “it falls upon the police.”

Other statistics shared in his report include that White Rock RCMP responds to approximately 6,600 calls for service every year, with an estimated one-third of those related to mental health, including substance use.

Other conclusions include that police response is rarely appropriate for calls from supported-care facilities regarding a senior resident displaying violent behaviour; and, that it is “unfair” to expect frontline officers to have the advanced mental health assessment skills necessary to properly service the diverse needs of those in a health crisis.

“The police role should be limited to imminent crisis intervention where safety is a concern, and not mental health assessments and mental health guidance, which is unreasonable to place upon the police,” Pauls says.

Further recommendations Pauls makes include having a mobile mental-health crisis response service for the region, staffed only by mental-health professionals who may request police assistance as deemed necessary; and, that Fraser Health’s advanced sobering and assessment centre, Quibble Creek, be expanded to welcome intoxicated subjects transported by White Rock RCMP.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

mental healthRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

The BC Wildfire Service is urging caution amid forecasts of strong winds throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre. (BC Wildfire Service photo)
Strong winds forecasted for Kamloops Fire Centre, BC Wildfire service urges caution

“Wind can cause grass fires to spread very quickly,” says the BC Wildfire Service

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Hesco baskets were first used outside the Cache Creek fire hall in 2020 (pictured), and have once again been put in place as a pre-emptive measure to safeguard the hall against possible flooding. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Cache Creek taking pre-emptive measures to prevent flooding

Sand and sandbags will soon be available for all residents who need them

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2016. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
UPDATED: Sinixt, First Nation bordering Canada-U.S., can claim Indigenous rights, top court rules

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read