GATES, N.Y. (WROC) — The Gates Police and the Gates Keystone Club — the police union — held a press conference Monday to discuss a mental hygiene arrest from last week, and a new policy put in place because of it.
Officials say after an arrest on October 12, a patient was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital. That person was then released without police being notified, and then the person was arrested by Gates police for a second time.
The patient was then held at Strong for a few days, released, and police were notified. The patient was arraigned, an order of protection was issued, and the person was released, due to bail reform laws, according to police officials.
As a result, Gates police say they are suspending sending their mental hygiene arrest subjects to Strong, and will instead take these patients to Rochester Regional Health hospitals for psychiatric emergency treatment. Officials say they are requesting a standardized discharge protocol from Strong going forward.
Gates police officials say they will not send mental health arrest subjects to Strong “until they develop a comprehensive standardized discharge protocol.”
Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode said he’s spoken to people at Strong about his concerns over the past week.
“We want a partnership with Strong, we’ve had a good relationship with them for years,” VanBrederode said.
VanBrederode says there has been 311 mental hygiene arrests in Gates so far this year.
“When someone gets released is there any follow up that takes place, is anyone monitoring this person?” VanBrederode said.
This comes after prolonged protests and policing conversations in Rochester regarding officers’ role in mental health incidents after the death of Daniel Prude in March.
The chief said this has been going on for years, but recent events have pushed him to say “This is no longer acceptable” and ask for something that works better.
In a joint statement, representatives for URMC and Rochester Regional Health said:
“Leaders from URMC and the Monroe County Office of Mental Health met with Chief VanBrederode last Friday to discuss his concerns. It is challenging for all of us that people suffering substance abuse disorders and mental health challenges are often able to refuse care that could help them. However, all hospitals and EDs in New York must follow the state’s mental hygiene law and criteria for inpatient psychiatric admissions, which prevent facilities from keeping patients involuntarily unless certain medical criteria are met.
We all want to improve the way our community cares for people suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues, which is why the County has formed a task force to improve the way law enforcement and health providers can work together to support people in crisis. These are community challenges that require community solutions, and it is not accurate to suggest that taking patients to one hospital over another will result in better outcomes for the families we all serve.”
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will provide updates to this developing story.