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

U’mista Cultural Centre is closed to the public until further notice, as of Nov. 23, 2020. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
U’mista closed until further notice due to new restrictions

North Island on high alert against COVID-19

Port Hardy Rotary Christmas Float. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Rotary float returns to Port Hardy to spread much needed Christmas cheer

The Christmas Cheer Float is a festively decorated full-size semi-tractor.

Email letters to editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish online and in print.
LETTER: Fish farms boost North Island economy

“… our local jobs, local taxation revenue, and the like will disappear!”

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Most Read