DIGGING DEEPER: Months after Rosecrance cuts triage hours, polic - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

DIGGING DEEPER: Months after Rosecrance cuts triage hours, police feel the strain

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"I was beginning to think that they all knew me because i called them so many times," said Deborah Hartshorne.

Hartshorne used to have police on speed dial. Her son suffers with mental illness and sometimes faces a mental crisis. One place he went to was Rosecrance's Triage Center.

"They kept him there for two weeks and they really got him stabilized to the point where he could take his medication and manage," Hartshore said.

It's typically where officers take people suffering with a mental crisis.

It takes officers about 30 minutes to transfer them there.

But recently officers say the amount of time has increased.

"One to two hours, sometimes even longer," said Rockford Asst. Deputy Police Chief Doug Pann.

One reason, according to officials, is the recent cuts to the triage center.

It used to operate 24 hours a day.

But after losing $1.5 million in state funding late last year Rosecrance made a change. 

"We cut the hours in half and tried to hit our peak time for people experiencing a mental health crisis but there is no set time and so while we're closed there are still resources needed," said Rosecrance Chief Operating Officer David Gomel.

Police now often have to take people to emergency rooms where the wait for a doctor can take hours.

"There are a lot of other calls out there for service out there and that they are simply not going to be able to respond to," Pann said.

And over the past few years 911 mental health calls to Rockford Fire have also increased.

From 2014 to 2015 they jumped 29 percent and the increases have continued into this year.

Rosecrance said even if the state resolves the budget standoff tomorrow it still could not restore the triage center's hours. 

Rosecrance plans to keep the center open as long as it can but said it won't be easy.

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