City’s hands often tied in situations relating to mental health

It’s all too familiar a sight—people battling mental health issues in Albuquerque standing in the streets, shouting and making a scene. But there’s not much the city can do about it until they commit a crime. 

Some people say it’s nearly impossible to walk around parts of the city without coming across a mentally ill person in crisis. The Albuquerque Police Department says often, there’s not a lot it can do. 

Police say they can only take mentally ill people causing a scene to jail or to the hospital if they’re threatening themselves, others, or committing a crime.

Recently, the responded to a call near the University of New Mexico because a man, identified as Jeffrey Sandoval, was yelling angrily in public. At first, they were going to let him go as he had done nothing wrong, but then he mooned police with kids watching from across the street. 

Sandoval was charged with three counts of indecent exposure and was taken to jail.

The city has invested $11 million getting help for people in need of treatment, who aren’t covered by insurance. 

The city says it’s much easier for these people to get the help they need once they’re arrested, but just because the help is offered doesn’t mean they’re required to accept it. 

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