Crisis care on wheels

To secure public funding for a mobile crisis unit staffed by law-enforcement officers and mental-health clinicians, Sacramento police and Sacramento sheriff’s departments have agreed to pony up 25 percent of officers’ salaries.

Adding roughly $209,000 in salaries, law enforcement’s contributions come to $644,137 of the total $1.7 million cost of the program, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Matt Reali, program liaison for the proposed psychiatric emergency-response team.

The action was approved at the March 1 meeting of the Sacramento County Mental Health Services Act steering committee, but there’s no guarantee the state will reverse its contention that PERT officers duplicate the duties performed by regular patrol officers and are therefore not eligible for funding under California’s MHSA. Sacramento Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Leibrock called this argument specious, saying PERT officers would be under the direction of the mental-health department, not law enforcement.