September 05, 2018 03:12 PM
The Washington County Sheriff's Department is hoping a revamped squad car will help save lives.
The department recently unveiled the new vehicle - aimed at suicide prevention. It will be used as a normal-duty squad car, traveling the county patrolling and responding to calls for service.
But a release said an advertisement on the car will include a website and phone number individuals needing assistance can use to find information on suicide prevention.
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Sheriff Dan Starry said the department came up with the idea of relabeling one of their squad cars a few months ago. The idea is for people dealing with thoughts of suicide to see the vehicle and reach out to get help.
According to the release, the department has responded to 163 suicide-related calls this year alone.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released some numbers statewide. They showed the suicide rate in Minnesota has jumped around 41 percent over the past 18 years.
The department has been working in cooperation with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Washington County Public Health and Environment to provide free training to the public on QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), as well as handouts deputies and chaplains can provide to families dealing with suicide-related issues.
Jonathan Rozelle and Frank Rajkowski
Updated: September 05, 2018 03:12 PM
Created: September 05, 2018 03:11 PM
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