LOCAL NEWS

New mental health team with Iron Co. Sheriff’s Office making a difference

Sep 28, 2021, 6:27 PM | Updated: 10:28 pm

CEDAR CITY, Utah — A growing issue for law enforcement is getting more attention, and in some places, more resources.

Mental health emergencies are tough to handle, but one Utah county said they’ve found a solution.

Law enforcement usually deals with people on their worst days.

Last month, Zach was having a bad one. He was yelling and cursing at officers who had been called to his location. However, he didn’t do anything wrong and wasn’t trying to avoid police. He was just having a mental health breakdown.

“He wasn’t trying to harm anyone and he just needed help, and you could just see that and feel that from him,” said Dep. Brenda Pires with the Iron County Sheriff’s Office.

In a way, it’s a good thing he and his mother were in Iron County.

Deputies there recently trained and created a team, specifically for mental health calls.

“We’re not really trained to handle those types of calls, or at least we weren’t,” said Pires. “But, we are handling those types of calls. We’re the ones taking those calls all the time because people don’t know what to do.”

Last year, Pires asked the Iron County Sheriff about training a team to respond to these calls.

The team launched this past April.

“We’re trying to help them. We’re not trying to take them and haul them off to jail,” said Pires. “Like, what exactly is happening? How can I help you?”

It’s a different way of responding with a different mindset that maybe didn’t happen before.

“I want to get the word out there to the community, so they know, when they do call 911, sometimes people with autistic children and someone with a mental disability, they’re afraid to call the police because they don’t want that bad outcome,” said Pires.

The team hosted a barbecue recently with autistic children in the community to get to know each other and their families.

As for Zach, deputies helped him and his mother find the right help.

They’re doing better today.

“If you ask for it specifically, we will get the right people there to help you with that situation,” said Pires. “We’re not trying to be counselors, but really, it’s a bridge between the community and the resources we have to try to get them the help they need.”

The team includes deputies from Garfield and Beaver counties.

So far, the team has responded to about 75 mental health calls.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Hundreds of protesters marched in Provo for abortion rights....
Michael Locklear

Hundreds protest in Provo to demand abortion rights

A crowd of roughly 300 people gathered in Provo Saturday night to demand abortion rights.
23 hours ago
A structure fire nearby the Rio Tinto Stadium. (Credit: Scott Jones)...
Michael Houck

Business catches on fire near the Rio Tinto Stadium during Real game

Sandy Fire crews battled against a 3rd alarm structure fire near the Rio Tinto Stadium during the Real Salt Lake game Saturday evening.
23 hours ago
A head on crash between a pick-up truck and a car. (Credit: UHP)...
Michael Houck

Police: One man dead, one in hospital after a crash in San Juan County

One man is dead, and another person is in the hospital after a head-on crash in San Juan County, according to Utah Highway Patrol.
23 hours ago
A sign hangs in the offices of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America(Photo by Mario Tama/Get...
Michael Houck, KSL-TV & Associated Press

Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Utah abortion ban

'We are forced into motherhood'; Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Utah's trigger law banning most abortions in the state.
23 hours ago
FILE PHOTO: Utah County Attorney David Leavitt is pictured at a press conference in Salt Lake City ...
Michael Houck

Utah County Commissioner clarifies ‘incorrect’ quotes used in Leavitt mailers

Utah County Commissioner Ameilia Gardner sent a statement clarifying a possible endorsement of Utah County Attorney David Leavitt sent to local residents.
23 hours ago
Air Force Thunderbirds...
Merri Moeller, KSL TV

WATCH LIVE: Warriors Over The Wasatch 

After a four-year break, the Warriors Over the Wasatch Air and Space Show is back at Hill Air Force Base.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
New mental health team with Iron Co. Sheriff’s Office making a difference