South Dakota law officers to get iPads to help mental crises

South Dakota News

FILE – In this photo taken on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, Gov. Dennis Daugaard delivered the State of the State address on the first day of the 2014 legislative session in Pierre, S.D. (AP Photo/Rapid City Journal, Chris Huber)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Police and probation officers in 23 counties across South Dakota will soon be equipped with tablet computers to connect people in mental distress to mental health professionals.

The South Dakota pilot program was spearheaded by Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson.

He says it could “revolutionize” a criminal justice system that sees a constant flow of people with mental health problems.

Avera Health and sheriffs’ offices will partner for the next year on the initiative.

The program is funded through $1 million from the Helmsley Charitable Trust. It will send 117 iPads to 18 sheriff’s offices and probation officers in eight counties.

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