OKLAHOMA CITY – On Monday, the governor signed Senate Bill 1070 into law. The bill, by Sen. Ron Sharp and Rep. Scott Biggs, will help keep law enforcement working on the streets rather than transporting mental health patients to hospitals and other facilities.
“This new law will allow police and deputies to focus on enforcing the law and protecting public safety rather than being a transport service,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee. “They should not be pulled away from keeping our communities safe to drive mentally ill patients to various facilities.”
The bill relates to mental health transport by law enforcement and stipulates that nothing in this section of law may be construed as to require higher standards for reserve deputies or off-duty law enforcement officials performing the service in a capacity as an employee, contractor, or owner of a third party entity providing the service.
The measure was requested by the Sheriff’s Association. The Mental Health Association established the guidelines for third party transport.
According to the Sheriff’s Association even medium size cities report that they make an average of three calls per day for transport, which is a tremendous burden on their departments.
SB 1070 will become law on November 1, 2016.