Local police officer honored for helping woman during mental health crisis

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Springfield police officer was honored this morning for helping a woman in a mental health crisis.

Corporal Chris Welsh was recognized at the Chamber of Commerce monthly event called Good Morning Springfield.

The woman the Welsh helped says she was feeling suicidal and didn’t want to talk to Welsh’s crew at first.

She was afraid that she would be handcuffed and taken to the hospital if they knew.

“She had a fear that basically we were going to take her to the hospital, involuntarily commit her,” Welsh said.

Welsh said that wouldn’t happen and connected with a Burrell Crisis worker through an Ipad.

“Can help provide those resources immediately, FaceTime the individual and kind of provide a sense of comfort and relief,” said Rachel Hudson, with Burrell Behavioral Health

Burrell from there set the woman up with the resources she needed.

“While officers are on scene they can access the Burrell crisis unit and immediately have access to a behavioral health professional,” Hudson said.

Welsh says helping people like her is the reason he is a police officer.

“The majority of our job is out there just trying to help people,” Welsh said. “Whether you’re in a state of crisis or they’ve been a victim or anything else. The rest is a very small percentage of our job. And basically just providing support to the community, protecting the community, is ninety-nine percent of it.”

In Welsh’s 24 years on the force, he says this by far is his favorite memory.

“It definitely reaches at the highest point. I’ve always worked at Commercial Street or downtown area and there’s a high number of homeless people, They’re not just homeless, they have names, they have a story and to be able to get them some help is very rewarding,” Welsh said.

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