The Boerne Police Department now has a dedicated mental health officer on staff to provide additional levels of support and attention to people in a mental health crisis.
Officer Rebecca Foley, with the department since 2013, assumed the role of mental health officer at the start of 2022.
“Officer Foley brings the patience and situational awareness necessary for the intense crisis calls our officers respond to on a regular basis,” Interim Assistant Chief of Police Steve Perez said. “Her dedication to the community, along with her specialized training, will allow our department to play a crucial role in getting help to the people who truly need it.”
The primary focus of Officer Foley’s work is to connect people experiencing a mental health crisis to the help they need. When responding to a crisis call, officers can place someone in what’s called an emergency detention to take them to an emergency room for medical care.
"I can honestly say that the officers who have attended Crisis Intervention Training (40 hours) or the Mental Health Officer Training (40 hours) have more tools to use, such as more resources, patience, and their overall mentality of dealing with mental health persons in crisis," Officer Foley said.
In some instances, these calls can take hours. With the addition of a mental health officer, officers will be able to return to patrol while Officer Foley remains at the emergency room.
As part of her new role, Officer Foley will also follow up with these individuals after they are released. Whether helping them get access to their medications or connecting them with counseling services.
Officer Foley says her interest in mental health began while completing her master’s degree in Criminal Justice and has continued through her years in law enforcement.
She has completed specialized training in negotiations, mental health first aid, and operational first aid, among others. She is also currently enrolled in another master’s degree program at Texas A&M San Antonio, this one in Counseling Mental Health.
The need for this new specialized role is real, with the Boerne Police Department responding to more than 130 crisis calls in 2021 alone.
Watch a report by KSAT-12 News on Officer Foley.