Gwinnett task force aims to increase law enforcement's recognition of mental illness

A new initiative launched by the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office will place emphasis on teaching de-escalation and intervention when dealing with mental health crises. 

The sheriff's office announced Monday the initiation of its Mental Health Task Force, designed to "stem the tragic migration of the mentally ill into the criminal justice system."

Deputies on the Mental Health Task Force will undergo training in crisis intervention and de-escalation as well as learn how to recognize mental illness. A sheriff office spokesperson said the task force will support other metro Atlanta law enforcement agencies and educate the public through social media, public speaking and other outreach programs. 

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Lt. Trakida Maldonado, a 20-year law enforcement veteran who is a practicing Licensed Professional Counselor, will command the task force. Dr. Dana Tatum will serve as the Clinical Director and Program Coordinator after pioneering behavioral health treatment programs in 28 jails and 17 prisons across 10 states while working with a correctional health care provider.

Gwinnett County Sheriff Kebo Taylor is in the first year of his inaugural term since he won the race in November 2020. He's Gwinnett County's first-ever Black sheriff

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