County seek grant funds for police mental health

Bartholomew County will try to get a grant to help local law enforcement officers get access to mental health care.

The Bartholomew County Commissioners approved a grant application at their meeting Monday,

Bobbi Shake, grant writer for the county government, explained that the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Awareness grant would be for $200,000 and would give officers 24-7 access to mental health care options. The program includes an app for cell phones where they could reach mental health access, peer-to-peer access and other services.

The grant would allow up to 300 law enforcement officers and their families to take part in the program, far more than the number of county deputies. Shake said the idea would be to spread the access to include Columbus city police, firefighters and other agencies. Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said that he wanted to ensure that all of the smaller town marshals and police officers in the county, would also have access to the program.

Shake said the funding comes through the federal government, it would reimburse county spending and there would be no county match required. While commissioners said they hated to spend tax money, they also realized that the opportunity would just be used by other agencies, if the county chose not to apply.

She said this is the first time the county has applied for the grant.