Police chief tells Seattle area about new KPD mental health program, but in Killeen it’s hard to get someone to talk about it | Local News

Mystery surrounds Killeen’s new mental health program first unveiled to Washington state residents during Killeen Police Chief’s job search in the Pacific Northwest during a series interviews in April.

During virtual interviews with the King County Sheriff’s Department in Seattle on April 18 and 21, KPD Chief Charles Kimble highlighted a new mental health program called “Killeen Cares” for 2,2 million residents of King County, while residents of Killeen were left in the dark.

After receiving questions from the Herald, KPD officially notified Killeen residents about the program in a press release Monday announcing a Killeen Cares launch event to be held May 2 with the Killeen NAACP and Texas A&M University-Central Texas .

When asked questions last week about the new program’s operations, expectations of police officers, funding and other background information, area officials declined to comment.







Police detention - Kimble mug.png

Charles Kimble, Killeen Police Chief




So far publicly, Kimble’s job interviews with Seattle-area officials have provided the best insight into the program, which aims to improve interactions between Killeen police and residents with mental health issues, which have proven difficult and deadly in the past.

INTERVIEW

At King County’s first public forum held via Zoom, as part of the interview process for Washington state sheriff, Kimble was asked by a resident to give a specific example of success he has had in creating more inclusive or equitable programs. See Kimble’s two virtual King County Zoom sessions here: https://bit.ly/3yjPsDV.

“The one I’m probably launching — in fact, I was sending invites out today — one of the programs I’m working on is called Killeen Cares,” Kimble said during the April 18 King County Zoom Virtual Forum.

Kimble gave King County residents a preview of the new mental health program, a project he said he has been working on for the past nine months with NAACP Killeen President TaNeika Driver-Moultrie following a a shooting involving an officer.

In January 2021, Patrick Warren, a resident of Killeen, was killed by a KPD police officer while suffering a mental episode outside his home.







Announcement Kiimble Patrict Warren.jpg

In this screen grab from police body camera video, Killeen resident Patrick Warren Sr. walks out of his home on Jan. 10, 2021, in central Killeen, as KPD officer Reynaldo Contreras prepares to fire his Taser at Warren. Shortly after, Warren was killed by a KPD policeman while suffering a mental episode outside his home. In April, Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble gave Seattle-area residents a preview of the new mental health program, a project he said he’s been working on for the past nine months with the president. of NAACP Killeen, TaNeika Driver-Moultrie, following a shooting involving an officer.




Most recently, after three weeks on life support, 27-year-old Killeen resident Ralph “Ralphy” Sebexen died on Tuesday from injuries sustained when a KPD officer responding to a disturbance shot him outside a convenience store. Mickey. The Texas Rangers have opened an investigation into the incident.

“I worked with the president of the NAACP and local LULAC, the Latino rep organization and some veteran partners, and the Department of Justice Community Outreach, and we were like, ‘Hey, how can we not to happen again?’ That was our goal,” Kimble said during the Zoom interview.

The police chief said the scheme would allow people to self-identify with the KPD either directly or through their doctor if they have “mental health issues”.

“For example, if I admit to myself or self-identify that I have a mental health issue, I have a different response when the police come to my house,” he said. “I have a card or bracelet on me, or it’s in the CAD (computer-aided dispatch) system, or I have an identifier on my vehicle indicating that it is a person who has identified that she has a mental health issue and she has a different response, a different officer, a better trained person – even a civilian service provider.

Later, during King County’s April 21 Zoom forum, Kimble clarified that those who enter the Killeen Cares database will receive a sticker identifying their participation in the program.

QUESTIONS

The Herald was met with resistance when asking about the Killeen Cares program.

Speaking to NAACP President Driver-Moultrie on Friday, the Herald asked when the NAACP Chapter began working with the KPD on this mental health program, how the organization would be involved in the program at the future and whether a signed agreement between the two parties for the Killeen Cares program existed.

“I’m at a conference but would be happy to answer any questions for a better understanding with other guest media at kick-off Monday at 10 a.m.,” Driver-Moultrie replied via email Friday.

The Herald asked the police department why Kimble’s potential future employer in King County had heard of the mental health program before Killeen knew of its existence, how much the program would cost and how it would be funded, when officers would receive Killeen Cares training, whether officers were consulted in the creation of this program, why residents with mental health issues should trust such a program, and whether Killeen City Council should endorse Killeen Cares.

In a Friday morning phone conversation about unanswered questions from Killeen Cares, KPD spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez said, “I can tell you now that they’re going to want to discuss all of this at launch.”

Killeen Mayor Debbie Nash-King did not respond to an emailed request for comment on the new program by Friday’s deadline. Council members Ken Wilkerson, Jessica Gonzalez, Riakos Adams or Michael Boyd also did not respond.

In questions to members of the city council, the Herald asked when they first heard of Killeen Cares, why the program did not have to be approved by council, and what the officials’ general thoughts were on the program. .

Councilwoman Mellisa Brown said she first heard about the Killeen Cares program when she read the Herald’s first article about the police chief’s virtual town hall in King County.

Brown said she doesn’t know why the new program hasn’t been approved by the board.

“I’m waiting for some questions to be answered before I decide how I feel,” Brown said in an email Friday. “I appreciate the intent and initiative to foster better interactions between our officers and citizens.”

“Similar programs have been successful in different cities and states,” she said. “Additionally, similar programs have led to lawsuits against cities and counties. It all depends on how it is administered. I don’t have any more information about the program than the public has at this time.

Killeen City Councilor Nina Cobb did not answer questions directly, but provided the following statement.

“I knew about the program and I’m thrilled that efforts are being made to improve OUR community with programs that will help those who suffer from mental illness,” Cobb said in an email. “I encourage everyone to listen, attend and learn so we can all be part of the city. “A mind is a terrible thing to waste!” We constantly promise to ensure a good quality of life in the town of Killeen, we hear you, we see you and we support you.

Social workers

Councilor Rick Williams said he heard about the scheme at the last council meeting, but was unsure why Killeen Cares did not need council approval.

“I don’t know enough about this program to answer that question appropriately,” Williams said in response to the Herald’s question about his thoughts on the program’s possible effectiveness. “The only briefing I received is what was presented to the board at the workshop.”

However, it is unclear whether the presentation that was made at the recent board meeting and the Killeen Cares program are the same, related or completely different.

At the Killeen City Council workshop meeting on April 19, Kerry-Ann Zamore-Byrd, a professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and Misty Biddick, executive director of Aware Central Texas, made a presentation to council on the importance of social workers. and how they can help reduce or prevent crime in a city.







Kerry-Anne Zamore-Byrd.jpg

“Training and education helps identify patterns of abuse and mitigate them before they escalate to physical violence,” Zamore-Byrd said.

At no time during his presentation was the term “Killeen Cares” used. Bumper stickers were also not mentioned.

During the meeting, Kimble added his support for social workers working with KPD and said he would like to find room in the next budget for this. Council members also expressed support, but said talks would have to continue at a later date before anything was finalized.

How much a social worker program will cost is also an enigma; Zamore-Byrd said she was hired for $80,000 in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree. However, the cost for a social worker entirely depends on the competitive area listings as well as the target education level.

Having a social worker program at KPD “would be another tool in our toolbox,” Kimble said at the board meeting. Social worker advocates said they would get back to the council in about 60 days with more details on how such a program would work.

Whether the social worker program and “Killeen Cares” are the same thing, officials have not clarified.

A&M-Central Texas – named in last Monday’s press release as working with KPD on the Killeen Cares program – had no comment when asked about it by the Herald on Friday.

KPD will unveil its Killeen Cares program at 10 a.m. Monday at a launch event held at Texas A&M University – Central Texas in Bernie Beck Founders Hall.

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *