Angelina County Sheriff's Office trying to combat mental illness

The Angelina County Sheriff's Office is hoping to soon add a mental health care specialist to their task force. About 3,500 people a year, in the county reach out for mental illness health care.

Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches said it's an issue that they have been struggling to deal with.

"We deal a lot with mental issues and really that has been a growing problem," Sanches said.

Allison Horsely with The Burke Center, a facility that specializes in mental health care said, in the last three year alon,e they have seen a 25-percent increase in mental illness cases.

"We have a number of people in East Texas who are unable to because they are too far away or there aren't enough providers in our area," Horsely said.

Without the proper care, conflict can arise which can lead to law enforcement being called. Sanches said as of now, their department is not equipped to handle the calls because they don't have a specialized unit.

"At lot of time they get put in jail, and that's really not the proper place to be because they need counseling; they need help they need certain medication,"  Sanches said.

He added these individuals are a burden on the jail and are costing you the tax payer unnecessary money.

"It's going to help us save time and money," Sanches said.

Sanches said the special mental health force will be funded by the Burke Center not by Angelina County.

Sanches plans to go before Angelina County Commissioner's Court for final approval Friday morning. The deputy chosen will go through special training at The Burke Center.

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