WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Sedgwick County Commissioner Lacey Cruse says she made a request Wednesday to have an outside audit conducted into the county’s policies surrounding mental health crises and minors.
It comes after 17-year-old Cedric Lofton died in a hospital two days after becoming unresponsive while restrained at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC) in September.
Cruse stresses that the county cannot burden community volunteers who are already burned out due to severe staffing shortages.
“I don’t believe having a community task force that is developed by the organization and by the entity that needs to be looked at is enough. I don’t think it’s enough,” said Cruse.
Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple says the city is working to ease the burden on law enforcement when it comes to the mental health crisis.
The council has already passed its legislative agenda this month. It includes a request for the Kansas Legislature to touch on mental health.
“Give us the resources so we can build a mental health hospital right here in Wichita, and if not that, at least 50 more beds for mental health patients,” said Whipple.
He says the city is willing to put more money into the ICT-1 program, but due to a lack of enough mental health professionals, the city is not able to scale up the program at this time.