They're called MHP's or Mental Health Professionals. They're a group of trained crisis  counselors who either ride with an officer, or are on call in a moment's notice. The program has been in place for a couple of years now in our area.

They are available for all law enforcement in Benton-Franklin County, and Pasco Police had a chance to use their skills Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday night around 9PM a 911 call came in about a man walking south on the west side of the Blue Bridge, where there's no sidewalk and no protection. The crosswalk is on the east side.  Officer Decker arrived and used his light to keep the man illuminated and he directed him to keep walking and immediate finish crossing the bridge. Cars swirled past, as Decker attempted to slow traffic and allow the man to continue.

But instead, the man stopped traffic as he crossed both south lanes, climbed over the jersey barrier, crossed the northbound lanes (narrowly avoiding being hit) then went onto the sidewalk leading down from the bridge.

Officer Decker said it was obvious the man was having a mental incident, and with help from KPD and WSP they were able to divert traffic until the man was safely out of the way. One of the MHP's was called, and the man was able to be taken to where he could get some immediate crisis help.

Also on Wednesday, another MHP, Salomon Carrasco, was called to speak with a man who had climbed onto the roof ledge of a building in Pasco.  Carrasco was able to speak to the man and convince him he could get help and care through the Transitions program, and the man agreed to come down. He had originally been chased by Police, as he was wanted on some misdemeanors, but he'd threatened to jump.

Two examples of how the MHP program has yet again potentially saved more lives in our area, and gotten people help they need.