New mental health task force update

Local

The State College Borough has been working on a new task force, in response to the officer involved shooting that left a 29 year-old autistic man dead this past March.

This new task force will work to help handle mental health cases in the area and prevent another violent situation.

The State College Borough has been preparing a new task force since the Osaze Osagie officer involved shooting, nearly five months ago.
They say it’s inspired from input by the community and local groups, that have started up since the shooting happened.

The father for Osaze Osagie, an autistic man in State College, called for a mental health check for his son on March 19th.
The next day, State College police showed up for a 302 to warrant to take osagie for a mental health evaluation.
According to police, Osagie would not let them in and tried to stab officers with a knife.
Osagie was subsequently shot and killed by police.

Thomas King, with the State College Borough says they’ve listened to the community’s suggestions about mental health reform by forming a new mental health task force.

“This task force will really be focusing on those who are suffering from serious mental illness to issue a report to the Borough and to the County Commissioners on ways to improve on the overall mental health services here in Centre County, particularly as it relates to people in crisis,” Thomas King, Assistant Borough Manager at State College Borough, said.

This new mental health task force will be on top of a task force that started in 2015, which focuses on racial equity, inclusion and diversity.

The task force will be working to keep situation similar to Osaze Osagie from happening again.

“From a treatment available to the hospital availability, counselor ratios and including the role police play whenever a 302 mental health warrant is issued, King, said.

King says on top of the mental health help, they’re responding to the Osagie shooting by contracting with a race and equity group to get training.

“They would help us develop a racial equity plan, that we would adopt for the whole Borough,” King, said.

He says the Borough will also have Penn State professors and local groups like “Community and Campus in Unity” and “Standing Up for Racial Justice”, look at any new policies or practices.

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