The Afterburner 10/23/13

By LeaAnne Klentzman


Mental Health – We are in a crisis! Here, there, and everywhere mental health problems are surfacing across our country and most importantly across our county. Inexplicably we seem to collectively ignore the looming problem of those around us who cannot deal with the everyday issues of life. For those living in the odyssey of the mental health system either as a client, or a supporter, it can seem overwhelming, seemingly no place to turn and little help to be given.

In less refined circles a mental health episode can be referred to as letting one’s cheese slip off one’s cracker. That however is never a good plan, and those with the slipping cheese can be catapulted into a full blown crisis by a single event. Irrespective of the cause, when the cheese is off the cracker; the crisis is in full swing and help is needed.

In the late 1980’s Sheriff Gus George set up a Mental Health Unit after the Reagan era tax cuts began to make law enforcement the front line for mental health crisis, not the criminally insane. That help was abolished shortly after Sheriff Milton Wright took office 1997 when he dismantled the Mental Health Unit.

Since then, all across Fort Bend County there has been an abysmal history of dealing with citizens who have slipped into crisis. The problem is so prevalent that the State of Texas mandated that all law enforcement officers must attend Crisis Intervention Training since they are first responders. While that training is insightful and provides a very different perspective for officers, it is still not the solution.

Street cops understand crisis, they understand violent crisis; however they are ill equipped to deal with a noncriminal person in that kind of crisis.

Doctors spend years in training in order to deal with those who have lost their cheese, they make hundreds of thousands of dollars talking with and treating these folks in a protected environment. Not the case when one or maybe two street cops arrive at a home where the family has been terrorized or push beyond imagination.

Once at the home, the family wants police to make things okay, officers expect and demand compliance from a person in crisis when they confront each other, it is yet another crisis to unfold. If the subject in crisis makes a sudden move, and the officer responds based on his police training, often the end result is tragic. Not illegal, often not a crime, but a tragedy none the less.

For the last couple of years Fort Bend County has been studying this problem. They applied for and received a federal grant, they have selected personnel for the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) that is slated to serve all of Fort Bend County, just like before, they have trained supervisors, heck they have even paid a sergeant over at the Sheriff’s Office for nearly a year, still no CIT Unit. That sergeant has been to seminar after seminar, class after class, yet there is still no training manual, no standard of operations, nor is there a start date for the unit.

Seems the Crisis intervention Unit needs some intervention of its own. Looks a lot like that vehicle maintenance problem; all the parts are there, been paid for, but nothing seems to be working. You got the money, go buy yourself a supervisor, maybe one with some people skills! We will let you know about that federal grant money.

This is Texas, we all have crazies, some to more degrees than others but heck when the holidays roll around we all dress up and pass the potatoes, praying everybody’s cheese hangs on their cracker… at least for the day.

Get them doggies’s roll’n – Yes, it is time to vote for Mobility Bonds. According to Dan Roach, the campaign Treasurer for Keep Fort Bend Moving, “This Bond issue will provide $184.9 million. City, state, and federal funds will increase it to $384.3 million to upgrade our system without increasing your tax rate.” In Precinct 1 alone there is a total of $94,460,000 in benefits for the Fort Bend voting public if the referendum passes. The proposed updates and changes are sprinkled nicely across the county. For example, Beechnut, long known as “The Road to Nowhere” between FM 1464 and the dead-end at Nowhere will finally lead to somewhere. It will be opened from Bellaire Texas all the way to Peek Road in west Fort Bend County. Who would have ever dreamed?

The new roadway will be a two-lane asphalt road with shoulders and a 100 foot right-of-way that is 9,600 feet long and cost a total of $2,100,000. In far-east Fort Bend County, Chimney Rock will connect from FM 2234/McHard Road all the way to Rosa Parks Elementary School. That stretch of roadway will be 11600 feet in length consisting of two- lanes of concrete road with curbs and 100 foot right-of-way. It will also include bridges over the American Water Canal and over Mustang Bayou. It is slated to cost $11,700,000.

A more universally used intersection slated to be improved is Stadium Drive to US 90A near Constellation Field. This four-lane concrete boulevard along old Burney Road between Stadium Drive and US 90A will also include a new crossing of the Union Pacific Railroad and a bridge over Oyster Creek. It will be 2,500 feet and cost $13,400,000 total.

For more information visit and type Mobility Bond Election: November 5, 2013 in the search box.

All this talk about monies begs the question, if we can fix all these roads, why can’t we get the ball rolling on Mental Health?

Save your own mental health, vote in the Bond Election.

Send questions or inquiries

to LeaAnne Klentzman
Fort Bend Star
4655 Techniplex Dr. Suite 300
Stafford Texas 77477

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