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A mental health unit launched by the Chelan County Sheriff's Office in 2022 is getting high marks for their role in assisting law enforcement agents. The Chelan County Diversion Program and Behavioral Health Unit responds to people who are at risk and can refer them to the appropriate services or treatment. Chelan County Commissioner Kevin Overbay says it's also helped reduce the number of arrests law enforcement make and decrease the number of emergency room visits for those in crisis. The program has grown from just one mental health professional to four in just fourteen months and seen an increase in contacts from just 34 in January 2022 to more than 600 during December 2022 and January of this year. Additionally, they've been able to expand their capacity to other law enforcement agencies beyond the Chelan County Sheriff's Office, including East Wenatchee and Wenatchee Police, and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. Funding for the program is provided by federal and state grants.

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