Database offers mental illness insight for Sherman-area police - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Database offers mental illness insight for Sherman-area police

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Sherman police Chief Zachary Flores examines the Project HELP database. (KTEN) Sherman police Chief Zachary Flores examines the Project HELP database. (KTEN)

SHERMAN, Texas -- Grayson County law enforcement is hoping to set a new standard for maintaining information about mentally ill citizens.

Sherman police Chief Zachary Flores said it's called the Help Emergency Life Plan -- Project HELP.

"I visited with a lot of other chiefs," he said. "It's a program that has really taken off in the Metroplex to better serve the community, and it was an easy decision knowing it would fit in the Grayson County area."

Project HELP is a database that will give citizens the option to voluntarily provide information to police about themselves, a friend, or a family member who is considered mentally ill.

"Should somebody wander away from home or any situation occurs, the information we are asking for is typically something we ask at the end," Flores said. "We're just trying to get ahead of that."

The database will be online, the first of its kind in Texoma, and will offer guidance to other law enforcement agencies as well.

"If law enforcement knows ahead of time that there are some special needs people there, they should be able to respond appropriately," Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt said. "That should cut down on the amount of people coming into our jail."

With an estimated 35 percent of jail inmates considered to be mentally ill, Project HELP is a first step to upgrading law enforcement in the region.

"What we hope is that it takes off, and that everybody in our area has access to it, and that we're progressive not for the sake of just saying it, but we are actually here to help our community," Flores said.

Sherman police said the program should be up and running by next week.

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