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Program pairs mental health workers with police officers

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The woman slouched on the steps of the rundown motel, her hair mussed, her pinkish outfit rumpled, her expression perplexed. Health officials were combing the brick-facade building where she lived for bed bugs as part of a multi-agency raid, while police banged on door after door, hunting for ex-felons.

Police Officer Patrick O’Bryan and state mental health counselor Randee Hill approached her. “How you doing?” Hill asked.

“Not so good,” the woman answered. Her room lacked plumbing and heat. Her cat, Egyptian, had gone missing amid soiled blankets and McDonald’s wrappers. And she repeatedly referred to the cat as a jaguar.

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