The Goleta City Council will receive a presentation on Tuesday discussing the components of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Behavioral Sciences Unit mental health Crisis Intervention Team.
The council will then discuss mental health crisis calls and response data/impacts, and explore the approach of assisting individuals to access resources they need rather than using the criminal justice system to address mental illness, according to the staff report.
The sheriff’s office averaged five to eight mental health crisis calls per day. The average time it took to resolve those calls was 1.5 hours, while the average time for non mental health crisis calls is 20 minutes.
The calls required one to four personnel, including a supervisor.
In addition, national data has estimated between 20-30% of people in jail have a serious and persistent mental illness. As of June 2019, there were 330 people with serious mental illness in the Santa Barbara County Jail.
In 2017-2019, 40% of all calls to the sheriff’s office for mental health crises came out of the Goleta area.
The presentation also outlines Crisis Intervention Team training, an eight-hour course that covers major mental illnesses and substance use disorders, along with how to de-escalate incidents involving people with these illnesses and disorders.
About 1,000 total people have received this training, with approximately 657 law enforcement officers, 150 custody personnel and 100 civilians.
In order to de-escalate these situations without using violence, presenters suggest a pilot program called Co-Response, which pairs a mental health crisis worker and a CIT trained deputy in an unmarked vehicle, dressed down in a polo responding to these calls.
The objectives are to prevent injury and link individuals to appropriate services in the community.
So far, as Goleta launched the pilot program of Co-Reponse, each month, only a handful of calls ended in arrest.
In other business, the Goleta City Council will receive an update on the Creek and Watershed Management Plan Project.
The focus of the update is to provide detailed standards of acceptable practices for protecting the ecological function, water quality and drainage and flood control function of Goleta’s creeks and watersheds.
In addition, staff will provide detailed information on the city’s creeks because to date, the city does not have a comprehensive summary of them or their changes over time.
The council will also be recommended to close beach parking lots over Labor Day Weekend in order to prevent large gatherings, thereby preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Goleta City Council will be recommended to amend the Emergency Expanded Restaurant Dining and Other Uses Program to allow family entertainment centers to operate outdoors and allow businesses to use shade structures in outdoor operations.
“Family entertainment centers, as well as many other businesses, have been impacted by state and local closure orders and are struggling to financially recover,” the staff report read. “This order is intended to allow these businesses to safely re-open by moving their operations outdoors, under the scope of the Program, and allows for those businesses to contribute to the city’s economic growth and recovery as well as their own.”
Tuesday’s meeting at 5:30 p.m. can be viewed live on channel 19 or at www.cityofgoleta.org/goletameetings.