Leavenworth city commissioners were briefed this week on a new Municipal Court diversion program for people with mental health problems.


"We continue to deal with issues regarding mental health as a public safety issue," Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens said.


He addressed commissioners when they met Tuesday for a study session.


He said Leavenworth police officers responded to 166 mental health calls last year.


Kitchens said people with mental health issues often commit minor crimes such as trespassing or disorderly conduct.


City Prosecutor Catalina Thompson reviewed the Leavenworth Municipal Court diversion program which can offer mental health services to offenders.


"We really do think this will mean a lot for our community," she said.


She said the program can provide people with help they need and prevent future crimes.


Thompson said most people in the program will be placed on diversion for one year. They will be seeking mental health services during this period.


She said people who enter the program can receive services from The Guidance Center, which is a community mental health service. The Department of Veterans of Affairs also can provide services for veterans in the program.


"A lot of the work is going to come through the VA and The Guidance Center," Thompson said.


She said The Guidance Center and VA personnel will provide monthly reports as part of the diversion program.


If people do not remain in compliance during the one-year period, there are options for sanctions that do not require revocation of the diversion, Thompson said.


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