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Mental Health Case in Trion Wraps Up

Last week’s Trion school lock down came as a result of a local senior citizen who had a history of mental illness being spotted roaming through neighborhood yards with a knife. While no laws were broken, local law enforcement felt it prudent to make safety a priority and locked down the schools while the situation was resolved.

Vernon Earp, 71, a Pine Street resident in Trion, had recently been evicted from his room at the Summerville High Rise. There have been reports of several incidents at the high rise that lead to his eviction. With no family in the local area, Earp’s medical situation became serious as he failed to consistently take his prescriptions. Several incidents in the previous weeks led Trion Chief of Police, Jason Kellett, to take the incident involving Earp seriously. Increasing unpredictable behavior caused alarm for Chief Kellett. After Earp fled the scene, Kellett’s men tracked him back to his Pine Street residence, where he was carefully observed for the next few days and brought into custody on Friday morning.

Trion police officials fed Earp and checked his physical health while calling in a chaplain to counsel him. Earp’s family signed for a 1013 to allow involuntary transportation by law enforcement for the purpose of mental health evaluation or treatment.

Mental Health Sign

The 1013 form includes very clear criteria for its use and execution. The criteria that the “mentally ill” person needs to meet include the following:

  • “A. presents a substantial risk of imminent harm to self or others as manifested by recent overt acts or recent expressed threats of violence which present a probability of physical injury to self or to other persons; OR
  • B. appears to be so unable to care for his/her own physical health and safety as to create an imminently life-endangering crisis.”

These risk factors need to be present at the time of evaluation of the individual who appears to be mentally ill. The Mental Health Provider completing the form is required to list their observations. These observations should justify the completion of the form itself. There is also a section where the Clinician selects from the following checklist and provides an example. The checklist is as follows…

“This individual:

  • ___ Has committed/expressed recent overt acts/threats toward others.
  • ___ Has committed/expressed recent acts/threats of violence to self.
  • ___ Presents an imminently life endangering crisis to self  because he/she is unable to care for his/her own health and safety.

For example: ___________________________________________________________________.”

The language on the 1013 form states that the transporting Peace Officer has a responsibility to make diligent efforts to take the “above named individual into custody,” within 72 hours after receiving the certificate. Typically, they are executed quickly due to the imminent risk. The 1013 certificate expires 7 days after it has been executed. The form is to be provided to the receiving facility.

The transportation can be provided by family or friends if it is deemed safe to do so. However, this does not mean that the “Peace Officer,” is relieved of their responsibility to provide the transportation if it is requested.

With dwindling resources allocated for treatment facilities that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses, these type of scenarios are likely to increase in frequency and severity. Law enforcement organizations from small counties, cities and townships are simply unequipped to deal with the growing number of mental health cases.

Villeda Concrete

Casie Bryant is the NW Georgia Regional Manager for AllOnGeorgia.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. kim

    February 4, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    This man is a very sweet man, only looking for a friend. If his family was a real family they would make sure he was, and is taken care of. Not sent off. Breaks my heart.

  2. kim

    February 4, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    This man is a very sweet man, only looking for a friend. If his family was a real family they would make sure he was, and is taken care of. Not sent off. Breaks my heart.

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