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State lawmakers push for mental health funding following death of Herman Whitfield III

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Posted at 7:10 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 19:21:04-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Local lawmakers are pushing for more funding to handle emergency calls focused on mental health.

In April, Herman Whitfield III died in IMPD custody.

His family said he was having a mental health episode.

Wednesday, the coroner's autopsy ruled his death a homicide.

"We have to work on how do we fund more IMPD officers that have that training to deal with people with mental health," Rep. Robin Shackleford said.

Shackleford said she plans to help get IMPD and the mayor's office more money in hopes to staff the city's Mobile Crisis Assistance Team (MCAT) and a pilot clinician-led program to address mental health calls in the community.

Right now, MCAT only responds Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. or 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

They weren't working the night Whitfield III's parents called 911 for help because that was on a weekend.

"A lot of these issues are happening on weekends on evenings if someone is going to have an episode. So, just make sure we are getting funding for these types of programs and trying to help out the mayor as much as possible," Shackleford said.

Representative Shackleford says she's planning to ask the state to divert some of the $100 million it recently received to expand mental health services for officer training.

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