SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Defense attorney Amy Fowler knows all too well how easily things can get out of hand when officers respond to someone dealing with a mental health crisis.
“A dozen stories off the top of my head where if the responders had had more information that the interaction would have been different,” said Fowler.
That’s why Rep. Stephanie Pitcher is sponsoring H.B. 328. This bill would allow people to sign up to have a discrete marking on their driver’s license and license plate. That marker would let officers know they have an underlying condition like a mental health issue.
Fowler said in one instance, her client called her while in crisis. She then spoke to the officer over the phone. She said in this instance she was able to explain to the officer what was going on and it made a huge difference.
“Instead of reacting to a combativeness with more combativeness, then everything sort of came down to a different level,” said Fowler.
Fowler said the more information officers have, the better the results are for everyone.
“What everybody wants is for people to be safe and get the services and the help that they need, whatever that looks like,” said Fowler.
On Thursday H.B. 328 passed unanimously in the House. It now heads to the Senate.