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Belle Fourche PD receives community service award

June 2, 2018 GMT

BELLE FOURCHE –– Recognizing the month of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, Jenny Greslin, representing the counseling services team at Behavior Management Systems (BMS) in Spearfish, presented the Belle Fourche Police Department an award May 22.

“They (the BMS team) would like to recognize and honor the Belle Fourche Police Department for their commitment to mental health,” she said.

Greslin thanked the department for the work it does in assisting the community it serves and added that BMS staff has been impressed by the genuine concern for the residents of Belle Fourche.

“From the chief of police to each individual officer we’ve dealt with, there has been empathy and a complete desire to help in whatever way you saw fit,” she said. “At times we have arrived and found the person to be evaluated eating a Subway sandwich or drinking a soda and having a snack. There is often an officer sitting with the person, taking time out of their day, to help connect, calm, and reassure the person that no matter what’s going on, they are not alone.”

Additionally, Greslin said, officers have always been helpful and open in discussions related to decisions made for the patient’s care.

“At times an officer has driven someone over to our office for the evaluation or even just to see a counselor for an emergency session,” she said. “There has been a noticeable focus on helping people, not judging people. There is a noticeable focus on meeting that person where they are and working together to figure out how to best solve problems.”

The department’s willingness to partner with and support BMS, in addition to the genuine concern officers have shown for the people in the Belle Fourche community, Greslin said, is admired, respected, and extremely appreciated by BMS staff.

Greslin said that when a community member with mental health issues comes into contact with the police department, they often feel the situation is punitive.

“I mean, you’re in uniform, and they can worry that they’re in trouble,” she said. “And so I think it’s just really cool that you go out of your way to make it not a scary experience because if it turns out that way and someone needs help again, they’re reluctant to speak up and may not get the help that they need. The process and the way that it happens, which involves you guys so significantly, is really critical.”

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