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Doña Ana County Crisis Triage Center may soon be staffed after sitting empty for 7 years

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - For seven years, the $2.1 million taxpayer-funded Crisis Triage Center has sat empty behind the Doña Ana County Detention Center.

"We are really on the cusp of generating something for the community," said Commissioner Isabella Solis, who represents district four.

On Tuesday, commissioners inspected a business proposal from Recovery International that would cost the county between $254,000 and $277,000 to staff the building.

The purpose of crisis triage is to provide short-term care for mentally ill patients, hoping to east the burden on hospital emergency rooms, jails and law enforcement officers.

Video explanation below:

"Our law enforcement officers wear so many hats," said Commissioner Manuel Sanchez, who represents district five.

Las Cruces police officers responded to 1,500 mental health calls in 2019, according to Sgt. Robert McCord, who leads the department's Crisis Intervention Team.

However, Sgt. McCord estimated that the number was "much higher" because certain calls, like domestic violence incidents, might not be categorized as a mental health call.

He also said police took 915 people into protective custody in 2019.

On Tuesday, commissioners decided to wait for more public input before deciding how to staff the center.

"This is going to serve the entire county," Sanchez said. "I would like to have some more discussion... to understand what we want."

"It's not what we - the commissioners want," said Solis. "I think it's what the people want."

Article Topic Follows: New Mexico

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Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is a former ABC-7 New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and weekend evening newscast anchor.


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