Uvalde County Judge Bill Mitchell has authorized 67 mental health commitments so far this year. At a cost of $500 per mandatory detention hearing, the county has already accumulated a $33,500 bill – excluding cost for transportation, which falls on the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office.
If any law enforcement officer working within Uvalde County encounters an individual they feel is in need of a mental health evaluation, that person is taken to Uvalde Memorial Hospital. There, a physician will screen the individual to determine if he or she needs assistance.
Likewise, individuals can check themselves into the hospital for evaluation, or another person can report an individual by way of a crisis hotline.
If the person’s behavior warrants immediate medical attention, an emergency medical detention certificate is generated and given to Uvalde County Judge Bill Mitchell for a signature.
“I am the one that authorizes emergency medical detentions. It isn’t just a matter of me signing that certificate; I need to evaluate,” Mitchell said, adding that he looks for individuals who are hallucinating or threatening violence against themselves or someone else.
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