Law enforcement asks for more attention to connection between me - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

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Law enforcement asks for more attention to connection between mental health and public safety

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

As the Lincoln County community asks why, one former law enforcement officer is saying the events should spark a broader conversation about mental health and public safety.

A post referencing mental health evaluations appeared on the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police Facebook page less than 24 hours after the Lincoln County shooting spree. Association Executive Director Ken Winter was the author.

"It was a bit of a post out of frustration, as much as anything else as sorrow and concern," explained Winter. "You sit there and you start asking all the different questions as far as why did this happen. And what could've been done to prevent it?"

Winter says the video of Willie Corey Godbolt after his arrest prompted him to think of how frequently law enforcement deals with mental health issues.

"These people slip through the cracks," added Winter. "Again, I don't know if this man has ever been evaluated as far as any kind of mental health or shoot but I think the proof unfortunately hindsight is 20/20. At some point in time, he should've been."

Winter's post was a way to re-start the conversation about how mental health resources should be bolstered rather than cut.

"It's terrible that you have to have tragedy in order to bring about conversation," described Winter.

Other law enforcement, including Hinds County Sheriff Victor Mason, have noted that they're now housing patients who would be better served outside of the jail. Earlier this month, a memo went out from the Department of Mental Health. Restricted access, services from another provider, and waiting lists, were all listed as the impacts of reduced staffing and money. 

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