Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I am Flo Ching, the mother of Travis Jordan. On November 9, 2018 my son was killed by two police officers while he was in the throes of a mental health crisis. I grieve the loss of my son every day, especially knowing this tragedy never needed to happen. People experiencing mental health crises are 16 times more likely to die during a police encounter than any other group of people.

There is an important bill in the Minnesota legislature that would require 911 operators to refer mental health crisis calls whenever possible to the mobile mental health crisis teams that exist in all 87 counties in the state. Under this bill, we would finally utilize the mental health emergency responders we are already paying for. Ramsey County is doing this and it works very well. It’s working because it takes the burden away from police while ensuring people in crisis receive immediate care.

The bill does not require mental health crisis teams to be used if they are unavailable or circumstances require a police response. Safety remains primary.

Please call your legislators and ask them to support this bill, which gets the right professionals to the right place at the right time, improving care and saving money in the long run. Please tell them to support HF 1686, SF 1924, Travis’s Law.

If anything can come from the death of my son, this bill will help to make sure that no other family has to go through the pain our family has experienced and that people in mental health crisis will get the care they need.

Flo Ching

Mother of Travis Jordan

Waseca, MN

(1) comment

Gannieca

I am very sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing your story. Police aren't trained in mental health and their mere presence to someone with high anxiety, severe depression, manic, or paranoia can really escalate and frighten them. Especially when they show up with flashing lights.

Those of us with loved ones with mental illness have to weigh do we call for help and risk losing our loved one, or do we hope and pray they settle down.

People like to judge but you needed know when you are a loved one might have a mental breakdown.

I really hope my fellow citizens call their State Legislators to find out if they support this bill and if not why. And tell them you want them to vote for this bill. We need to move forward as a country.

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