Sheriff Knezovich slams state for lack of mental health funding - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sheriff Knezovich slams state for lack of mental health funding

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Knezovich says while Spokane County is the only jail in the state certified to deal with mental health issues, it should not be the place for mental health treatment. Knezovich says while Spokane County is the only jail in the state certified to deal with mental health issues, it should not be the place for mental health treatment.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich slammed Washington lawmakers at a press conference Wednesday, saying there isn’t enough funding for mental health treatment in the state.

"The street is not the place for mental health treatment,” said Knezovich. “It is time that the state government take mental health seriously.”

During the press conference, Sheriff Knezovich and Law Enforcement Director, Jim McDevitt, used the three officer involved shootings in Spokane as an example of what can happen when there is a lack of mental health treatment.

"They had all been involved within the mental health system,” said McDevitt. “And this points to a bigger problem.”

The three shootings come on the heels of the escape of mental health patient, Anthony Garver, who broke out of Western State Hospital last month.

Knezovich says the state facilities aren’t fit to house patients, and local treatment centers don’t have room.

"We literally had to have people held in jail because there aren't enough mental health beds available,” said Knezovich. “We had to have people secured in non-mental health beds at the hospital because there are no mental health beds in this area."  

Knezovich says while Spokane County is the only jail in the state certified to deal with mental health issues, it should not be the place for mental health treatment.

The Sheriff has been preaching the same message for a decade, but says the state continues to put mental health on the back burner for years.

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