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Delta County Sheriff’s Office

555 Palmer St - PO Box 172 - Delta, CO 81416-1796

(970) 874-2000 Fax (970) 874-2027

F. D. McKee M. L. Taylor
Sheriff Undersheriff

October 10, 2018

Mental Health Press Release

First, let me assure you that I have the utmost respect for those involved with mental health care.
I was a board member with Midwestern Center for Mental Health for 12 years and served as
president of that board for two terms. I helped initiate the movement that eventually led the way
for legislation which prohibits Sheriffs from incarcerating individuals suffering mental health
crisis without criminal charges. I was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper to a mental health task
force to work out the details of this new legislation. Mental health care for our citizens is a serious
matter to me.

With that said, I am very frustrated with the behavioral health care in our state. An individual is
currently being held in the Delta County Jail who is in acute mental crisis. He does have criminal
charges but they are minor and he needs to be in a hospital. A district judge has issued an order
stating that this individual has mental illness and as a result, is gravely disabled and long term care
and treatment is appropriate. A senior mental health care provider has stated that he is the most
seriously ill person she has ever worked with. A bio-hazard clean up team has to be called upon to
clean his cell. Also, his immediate family and close relatives have all received restraining orders
against him. He has been evaluated and re-evaluated several times in the last two months and
placed on mental health hold and still all appropriate facilities in Colorado refuse to find a bed for
him. These facilities all claim to be full, and perhaps they are, but I do not believe these beds are
being used by people more gravely ill than this individual.

I am confident that if a person suffering a heart attack presented himself to a primary care
emergency room and they were full, they would find a bed for him. I believe the same should be
true for our mental health hospitals and care facilities. When a person is sick, they should receive
care not be locked up in our jails.

Colorado tax payers provide millions and millions of dollars for mental health care, which is not
sufficient but still the most critical ill should receive care.

Colorado must sufficiently fund the state mental hospital in Pueblo so that they can take in these
individuals that are a serious imminent danger to our communities.

Sheriff Fred McKee

“Serving with Pride”