Pasco County Sheriff's Office forms mental health unit

Posted at 8:29 AM, Jun 18, 2019

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (AP) — A Central Florida sheriff's office is creating a new unit to focus on the county's mental health needs.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco announced the new unit at a news conference Monday. It will cost $1.45 million per year and is set to start in October.

The Mental Health and Threat Assessment Team is expected interact directly with people who are experiencing mental health crises, focusing on people involuntarily hospitalized in the past.

Lt. Toni Roach will lead the new unit. She has traveled around the country to see how law enforcement agencies are managing the intersection of mental health and policing.

Pasco County deputies responded last year to nearly 20,000 mental health calls, with about 500 people involuntarily hospitalized.