An accident, a call for help and a mental health crisis: How a Boulder man's 911 call ended with a deputy killing him

Many Colorado counties don’t have mental health teams to respond to 911 crisis calls, even though the state offers funding

COLORADO – More than half of Colorado’s counties do not have a “co-responder” program in which a mental health professional joins law enforcement on calls to police, including the county of Clear Creek where local officers shot and killed a 22-year-old man as he sat. his car.

The death of Christian Glass in the small mountain town of Silver Plume, about 45 miles west of Denver, once again raises questions about law enforcement’s response to 911 calls involving a person in mental health crisis. Glass’ parents and their attorney revealed details of the man’s death on June 11 last week.

The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office said Glass became “argumentative and uncooperative” and attempted to stab an officer. But video of the arrest shows Glass, who waved his hands at officers and said he was terrified, never even got out of his vehicle. Officers jumped out the window, shot him six times with beanbags, several times with a Taser, and then shot him five times, according to the family’s attorney.

Co-responsor programs are intended to defuse encounters with police and reduce the number of people who need mental health treatment but are instead sent to prison. Colorado has stepped up efforts in recent years and provided public funding to local law enforcement agencies and mental health centers to expand programs across the state. Yet large swathes of rural and mountain communities still lack co-respondent teams.

Since 2017, the state Behavioral Health Administration has offered funding to communities to start the programs, which also require local financial contributions. Today, 24 of the state’s 64 counties have a government-funded co-responsor program. Summit County is one of them.

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