Pickaway County – Pickaway County Sheriff’s office launched a new type of awareness this week with new decals to spread awareness to the community.
Corporal Levi Freeman, a deputy and school resource officer for Pickaway County Sheriffs’ office helped launch this idea to help bring these ideas to the community. Freeman was named Paint Valley ADAMH Board as the 2021 Crisis Intervention Training Advocate of the Year.
“I am grateful for the support of Scioto and Paint Valley communities with this initiative. Sheriff Hafey, Chief Deputy Brown, and the Paint Valley ADAMH Board have been great allies by supporting me with this project which recognizes neurodiversity and amplifies mental health normalcy. Neurodiversity encompasses how we all experience and perceive reality differently. This project highlights mental illnesses and cognitive disabilities that are within the spectrum of neurodiversity,” said Freeman in an interview.
Freeman said that part of the idea came from wanting to spread awareness and part to a personal story of having a family member who died from suicide and another family member who has a mental health disorder.
“This vehicle has two goals. First, it underscores the hard work that area law enforcement already does by using active listening, conflict resolution, and de-escalation techniques. Secondly, it advertises our willingness to view everyone in a manner that is holistic and inclusive, regardless of your circumstances.”
Freeman said in an interview that, his training is also training that most employees of the Pickaway County Sheriff’s office already receive to deal with these situations, he’s just now the billboard for it.
“This also promotes building a safer community by partnering with mental health professionals and diverting some offenders to treatment opportunities in place of arrest. You will likely see the cruiser at Touch-A-Truck events, area parades, Pumpkin Show, the Pickaway County Fair, Paint Valley ADAMH Board events, and on patrol in Pickaway County.”
Mental Health Resources in the Pickaway County area include the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, 211, 988, Veteran Crisis Line 1-88-273-8255, the rainbow on the back of the cruiser is a symbol for Neurodiversity and Recognize-Embrace-Advocacy.
In an interview, Freeman said that Covid-19 hit mental health hard, and he feels we are still working our way out of that, “its been really tough on the kids, being home from school without peers.”
“I encourage anyone who needs help to reach for out it on your terms. The time has come to break the stigma; it’s okay not to be okay and it’s okay to get help. We are willing to be your ally.”
Freeman says that law enforcement has changed in recent years and, “we understand that we cant arrest our way out of some situations, we have to become allies to help mental health and understanding.”
“I’m happy to promote the next level of law enforcement in Pickaway county”
You will see the cruiser in touch a truck events, at school functions, and at parades throughout the year.