From left to right are, Trisha Gibson, Director of Forensics, Captain Donnie Willis (Jackson County), Sheriff Keith Wood (Meigs County), Sheriff Matt Champlin (Gallia County), Major Scott Trussell (Meigs County), and Assistant Chief Mony Wood (Middleport Police Department). Submitted photo.

MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio – Area Sheriff’s Offices will be participating in a collaborative effort to learn more about behavioral health services and mental illness.

The Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Sheriff’s Offices in collaboration with Hopewell Health Centers have recently applied for and been selected as a collaboration to participate in the national Mental Health-Law Enforcement Learning Site Program through the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and The Council of State Governments Justice Center. The program serves to teach other jurisdictions around the United States how law enforcement and behavioral health services can collaborate to serve those with mental illness within the criminal justice system. Representatives from these agencies will be traveling to or hosting other jurisdictions around the country to teach them how law enforcement and behavioral health services form effective partnerships.

The Gallia, Jackson, Meigs Mental Health- Law Enforcement Collaboration began in 2011 with crisis intervention training for law enforcement (CIT) and has since continued to expand and develop into mobile crisis intervention, case management, and a tailored mental health and addiction treatment program servicing 5 adult correctional facilities within the three counties in Southeast Ohio. The mission of our program is to advance mental health and law enforcement collaboration through a comprehensive model that addresses the behavioral healthcare needs of the local criminal justice population, while being responsive to the service gaps in rural Southeast Ohio. Additionally, this program addresses post-release aftercare treatment to assist in reducing recidivism in the
community by providing clients with the best possible resources available to achieve recovery.

Sheriff’s Offices in Gallia, Jackson, and Meigs Counties, as well as Honorable Judges Mulford, Evans, Musick, Regan, Story, and Crow, have been instrumental in their willingness and desire to implement mental health and addiction services to those served in the area. With the support of Hopewell Health Centers, the program has developed evidenced-based treatment modalities including trauma informed care and interventions, drug and alcohol counseling, psychiatry, as well as case management services to inmates in the region. The three Sheriff’s Offices have come alongside Director of Forensics, Trisha Gibson at Hopewell Health Centers to develop both counseling services and crisis intervention training for its own officers that come in direct contact with individuals having mental or emotional issues.

The national selection committee stated, “we are impressed by your team’s outstanding accomplishments, and has therefore selected your agency as one of four to join the learning sites program.” Director Gibson and Captain Willis will be traveling to Washington D.C. at the end of January to meet with other program participants and to conduct a presentation to showcase the accomplishments of the existing partnership. Director Gibson would like to thank Captain Willis of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office for taking a lead role in the application process and in his willingness to implement this program, as well as the Sheriffs for their partnership and excellent work in helping to serve those with mental health and addiction in the area.