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Who is the new Decatur Police Department's mental health liaison?

"I have done inpatient with a child and I have worked with clients on death row, so I have seen mental health from start to finish," Kate Anderson said.

DECATUR, Ala. — The Decatur Police Department has hired its first mental health liaison, Kate Anderson.

Police departments throughout the Tennessee Valley receive thousands of mental-health-related calls every year, and officers are often sent into situations without being fully trained on how to properly handle them. This new position at the Decatur Police Department aims to help fix this issue.

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"We are in a process of building a program that doesn't exist," Anderson said.

As the department's new mental health liaison, Anderson will help train officers and even go out on calls.

"As a mental health professional, and working within the police department is an amazing thing, because there is such a, whether it's real or perceived, tension between the two worlds are mixed already," Anderson explained.

Anderson says her main focus currently is to get to know the officers.

"The idea right now is just to start to meet officers and the administration staff, and the captains," Anderson said. "Just building those relationships and being available if they have questions right away."

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Anderson earned her master's degree in counseling psychology from Alabama A&M and has several years of experience working with patients and in correctional facilities.

"Doing that job in psych hospitals and stuff, I began to really see the revolving door of psychiatric hospitals and jails, and so If I didn't see a client for a while, it's like, oh well they must've gotten arrested, so they're in jail for a couple weeks and when they get, out and they get unstable and they meet criteria to be in a hospital and then they're here," Anderson said.