LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) — Knowing that Travis Shaub, who police say shot four officers, had mental health issues, could this tragedy have been prevented? Probably not.
But it raises the question of whether police departments could benefit from easy access to mental health professionals who could help them.
Experts say one thing is clear, helping police and the public stay safe starts with better mental health treatment plans.
Shaud was no stranger to policing, but familiarity has no bearing on what happened Thursday afternoon.
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“He had suffered from mental illness and mental issues for years, Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf said. “The family’s attempts to intervene, to provide assistance were met with complete resistance .”
Graf did not say what his mental health issues were, prompting him to shoot four officers, killing one.
“Mental illness is something so individualized and so different for each person, that it’s very difficult to throw a blanket over the situation and say it will solve all the problems,” said Christopher Dreisbach, CEO of Blueprints for Addiction Recovery.
Dreisbach launched “Gateways,” a program that makes peer specialists available to police 24/7 for mental health calls across Lancaster County.
“In the case we’re talking about, it wouldn’t have helped much specifically on the day this tragedy happened. But it’s extremely important to have professionals ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the law enforcement,” Dreisbach said.
He knows that there are no global solutions for all problems.
“What we can do and what we have the ability to do here in central Pennsylvania is be dynamic and fluid and really deliver programs that will help our communities and deliver programs that will prevent future tragedies,” Dreisbach said.
Here is his message to those struggling with mental illness: “Please reach out. Please agree to get help. And do what you can for yourself and live the life you deserve. And I hope we can avoid as many tragedies as possible because these are horrible things.