Sixteen Muskogee County Sheriff's deputies have a new tool in their arsenal — iPads.
The 16 iPads were provided by Green Country Behavioral Health and are equipped with the MyCare app. They will be used when deputies need to put people in touch with someone specially trained who can help with a mental health crisis. Green Country CEO Joy Sloan said it will be "like having a clinician in your pocket."
The Muskogee Police Department also received nine that will be used by lieutenants.
The iPads allow clinicians to video chat with law enforcement officials and clients. The devices also are equipped with wireless broadband, which allows law enforcement to use them anywhere they have a strong enough signal.
By using the MyCare app, clinicians can video chat with law enforcement officers and clients. Clinicians will be able to help law enforcers determine a course of action, such as whether the person should be taken to Green Country's crisis unit. It also will help by allowing clinicians to get health information.
Chief Deputy Michael Mahan said the iPads are a game changer for deputies. It will take stress off the officer and will save them time, allowing them to get back out on the street quicker.
And no, the iPads won't be used to surf the internet. The are modified to limit use to the MyCare app.
The distribution of iPads to law enforcement is the first step in a larger plan. Green Country also will distribute iPads to "high-risk or high-use" clients in the near future, said GCBH IT Director Mark Johnson.
Law enforcement officers are not mental health experts, although they deal with a lot of people who need mental health help. Officers can be so overwhelmed, use of the iPads to get immediate help 24/7, will benefit the officers, but more importantly, the people they serve.