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

Smoke dissipates as fire crews respond to smoke that was billowing from a residential building in the 400 block of Fourth Avenue SE in Salmon Arm about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Residents displaced following Salmon Arm apartment fire

Crews were called to the scene at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24

A chocolate banana cream pie, similar to the smaller version pictured, baked by the Shuswap Pie Company’s Tovah Shantz, fetched $5,000 in this year’s Heritage Week pie auction fundraiser for R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum. (Shuswap Pie Company photo)
Shuswap Pie Company creation fetches $5,000 for Salmon Arm attraction

Heritage Week pie auction raises $51,500 for R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in the former Kal Tire location in Salmon Arm now has its own truck as well as ‘opening soon’ signs on the building. (Photo contributed)
Salmon Arm ReStore looking for volunteers as setup to begin

Stocking shelves expected to start within two weeks, soft opening in April

Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Shuswap firefighters responding to structure blaze find cannabis grow operation

RCMP investigating, attempting to track down owner of property

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Major renovations are planned for the Centennial Outdoor Rink in Vernon. - Photo submitted
$695K grant to get Vernon rink ready for next season

Provincial funding will go toward replacing chiller at Centennial Outdoor Rink

BC49 logo
$75K lotto ticket sold in Vernon

Check your tickets, someone is winning big through the BC/49

Highway 5 pictured at Zopkios Southbound, Feb. 25 morning. (DriveBC)
Winter storm warning issued for Coquihalla, Highway 3

Up to 30 cm of snow expected by Friday (Feb. 26) morning

Pivot Rx is a new downtown Vernon pharmacy that aims to combine face-to-face care with the latest technological offerings in pharmaceutical care. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
New Vernon pharmacy takes ‘old-school’ approach to cutting-edge care

Pivot Rx has set up shop downtown in a building formerly home to MacKay’s Prescriptions for 40 years

Students from Summerland’s Okanagan College often posed for photographs on the Big Rock. The rock was on the northern slope of Giant’s Head Mountain. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Big Rock had been deposited during last ice age

Rock was once a prominent feature on Giant’s Head Mountain

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

Most Read