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ROSEBURG, Ore. – The Douglas County Commissioners have signed the “Stepping Up” resolution, which is an effort to keep more mentally ill people out of jails.
Douglas County is the 18th county in Oregon to sign the resolution, and 400 counties around the country have signed already as well.
Commissioner Chris Boice said this is an important first step for the county, and hopefully by addressing that there is a problem with mental illness on the streets they can then start to find solutions.
”We’re not going to find a solution until we’re willing to admit that there’s an issue on the street. That’s really what the resolution is about is recognizing that there’s a problem and then starting to work towards solutions,” said Commissioner Boice.
Boice said one of the things already addressed was training field police officers to assess if a problem they’re called to involves someone who is mentally ill or not. He said from there the proper steps can be taken.
Boice did admit he believes the next step in that situation is lacking in Douglas County. He would like them to develop more resources for mentally ill people.
County officials are hoping this resolution begins to make a difference in the county. They said it will not only help those who experience mental illness, but taxpayers should feel at ease knowing less of their money will pay for jail time for those who should not be in jail.
”And it’s just good for a better and safer community to get these people the help they need rather than have the cycle continue,” said Melissa McRobbie-Toll, the Public Safety Council Coordinator for Douglas County.