By Randy Pierce
Assistance from a mental health specialist to administer services for the Madison County Sheriff’s Department is being sought in the face of increasing incidents where it has become apparent that this is necessary, both inside the jail it operates and out in other areas.
This matter was addressed by the chief deputy from the sheriff’s department, Marcos Pulido, at a meeting of the county board public safety committee held on Thursday, June 8.
Funding for the position would be provided by the Madison County Mental Health Board, Pulido told the committee, with the individual being hired to provide assistance to personnel at the jail and deputies concerning how to deal with what he called “crisis” situations.
In his report to the public safety committee, Pulido commented that the sheriff’s department jail staff and patrol deputies are being faced with an increasing number of personal crisis-related encounters while on duty, dealing with people who are despondent and, in some cases, suicidal.
Pulido further told the committee members about difficulties law enforcement staff with both the county and Edwardsville Police Department have been experiencing concerning someone who had been sleeping on the steps of the courthouse building.
That individual, he explained, had refused offers of assistance for shelter or transportation along with also having been observed at local businesses sleeping on their properties. Those businesses, Pulido went on, have the authority to keep this from occurring as it pertains to trespass laws but that is not the case when it comes to a “public” building like the courthouse unless a particular offense is occurring.
This matter has reached somewhat of a point of resolve, however, as told by Pulido, because the same person was observed urinating on county property, so he is now prohibited from being present on it unless involved in the formal conducting of official business.
Whether or not loitering regulations can be enforced regarding people using public property as this individual had been doing, Pulido noted, is still a matter of debate.