Mount Vernon PD: ‘Wellness Precinct’ aims to keep man in mental health crisis from vandalizing cars

Most of those vandalism incidents were in a garage at East Sidney and North Third Avenue.

News 12 Staff

Oct 25, 2022, 12:31 AM

Updated 581 days ago

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The Mount Vernon Police Department’s new Wellness Precinct is playing the long game to keep a man in a mental health crisis from vandalizing cars on the city's south side.
Most of those vandalism incidents were in a garage at East Sidney and North Third Avenue.
Police say they're trying to help get this person out of an ugly cycle of minor crime, arrest and release. But they say it may take a while.
Irving Jeffers is out about $800 in repairs following four vandalism incidents to his car in the Sidney Avenue garage. Police arrested a man they suspect in most of the incidents there - and then released him. Jeffers' car was then hit a fourth time.
"All I know is the police department told me, they had him, arrested him, he went to court, and the DA turned him loose," says Jeffers.
Deputy Police Commissioner Jennifer Lackard says helping the suspect in these crimes has been a priority of her department's new Wellness Precinct.
She says this unit has officers who are trained to deal with people struggling with mental illness, and they found this man to be in bad and desperate shape.
"We want to try to help him first, get him into compliance and then working with the courts to kind of mandate treatment," says Lackard
Lackard says the crimes the man is accused of aren't serious enough to send him right to jail or right to an in-patient mental health center.
She says it may take time before a judge orders the man into treatment.
"Knowing that this is someone who would typically not be in compliance and would not do what they need to do, we would move toward some kind of mandated treatment to kind of rein him in, try to help him think clearly and really kind of follow a better path," she says.
Lackard says the suspect is due in court at the end of the month.
She says officers from the Wellness Precinct are working with the court and whoever represents him to steer him into treatment, but it's difficult when someone is homeless and estranged from family, as this person is.


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