By Adam Powell
A large contingent of Alamance County elected officials, county employees, and local citizens made their way to San Antonio, Texas earlier this fall. The group received information about a diversionary program that could save the county time, money, and resources in dealing with mental health challenges among local residents.
The proposed program in Alamance County is being called the “Stepping Up” initiative.
“It was a wonderful trip. We learned a lot,” County Commissioner Bob Byrd said of the visit to San Antonio. “Sometimes you never know what’s possible until you see it. And what we saw there (in Texas) kind of opened up my view as to what’s possible in Alamance County. We all went down and learned a lot.”
“We went out there and looked at this. I’m telling you – I left there very excited, and I’m still very excited with what they’re doing out there, and how they’re addressing these issues,” Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson added. “I could talk about it all night long. Because that’s how exciting it was. The one thing that got me was they were able to communicate with these people, and stop many of these people from being frequent fliers into the county jail, over and over, costing taxpayers money.”
There are four major goals universal to all “Stepping Up” initiatives, including Law Enforcement Diversion, Screening and Identification, Connection to Services, and Community Supervision.