Simplified: Sioux Falls police will be adjusting to new procedures when The Link triage center opens, and the outcome will mean fewer trips to jail.
Tell me more
The Link is a soon-to-open resource for people experiencing a mental health crisis, a need for detox or a sobering center. It's a 24/7 center comprised of a partnership between Sanford, Avera, the City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County.
Why it matters:
- The Link replaces the current sobering center in the Minnehaha County Jail.
- By having medical staff on-hand, The Link aims to also reduce a need for emergency room visits when officers find someone who needs a safe place to detox.
- The hope is the new center will provide people a more therapeutic environment, said Lt. Jason Leach with the Sioux Falls Police Department.
"People that are in need of sobering services, mental health services ... the jail's not the best place for them," Leach said. "That's punitive and can be detrimental to somebody's recovery."
What changes for first responders?
For Metro Communications 911 dispatchers, nothing. They'll still send out calls as they always would, said Director Scott McMahon.
For police, the biggest change will be taking people to The Link to sober up instead of to jail.
- That will mean a faster intake process – five to 10 minutes at The Link vs. 20-30 minutes at the jail, Leach said.
- It's also less paperwork to fill out, he added.
What changes for people picked up by police?
They'll have access to a higher degree of medical care from Avera, the provider for the facility.
They'll also be "linked" to other resources in the community aimed at helping them get the long-term help they need in addition to the short-term care at The Link.
What happens next?
Police will receive additional training on the intake process and various logistics for working with The Link, Leach said.
The facility is set to open early June.