The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office held a press conference for the purpose of bringing attention and awareness to current issues that law enforcement agencies are dealing with when trying to get individuals into the mental health system.
According to Montgomery County Sheriff Hank Partin, mental health issues seem to be on the rise in America and the COVID-19 pandemic has been adding to the problem.
Officials called for change within the mental health system. They say their efforts are being failed and halted from the state level.
They say for years now there has been a shortage of beds available for people in crisis to go in mental health facilities and is near capacity due to the pandemic.
Partin says the "position of the Dept. of Behavioral Health is to merely pass the consumer back to law enforcement and expect them to maintain custody with little real legal authority to do so is simply no longer acceptable."
Because of the shortage, an individual who is experiencing a mental health crisis and is under temporary detention order, the deputies are ordered to transport them to a hospital five to eight hours to another state.
The press conference was led by Partin, Chief Anthony Wilson (Blacksburg PD), and Chief Mark Sisson (Christiansburg PD).
You can watch it here or below.