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by April 9, 2014
The current law needs to be ammended so one's life is not decided by judgement or bias, but rather by a point assessment system.
The Florida "Baker Act Law" needs to be ammended. The current criteria, as described in the F.S. 394.463 that sets the standard criteria to assess one's mental state, when determining if one is in danger of harming themselves or others is too vague. Due to this, this current assessment criteria creates and provides the opportunity for a "Risk of Harm" when ones mental state is assessed by any non-medically qualified individual who is using their judgement, perception or possibly bias opinion. These assessments are done primarily by Law Enforcement, who are not medically trained to assess if ones life is in harmsway.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement is the governing agency for setting the training and certification requirements for Law Enforcement Officer's. Some of the training is required and some is oppitional. However, at the end of the course, these Officer's do not have a medical degree to handle the mentally ill. That is why it takes 6-8 years to become a qualified, properly trained and state certified Doctor who can assess one's mental state and the mentally ill.
There needs to be an assessment tool available to all Law Enforcement. The BECCA Score is such a system. It does not require any medical training, supervision or certification to use. This Scoring system will provide Law Enforcement the information they need to respond to a Well Being and or Suicide Check. The Officer will know in advance what this individual's BECCA Score is. This will give the Officer the much needed insight and allows the Officer time to prepare when approaching the individual. This scoring system will let the Officer know of several possible dangers before contacting the subject as well. These are:
1. Is there a registered gun owner at that location.
2. Does this indivdual have a concealed weapons permit.
3. Has this individual been Baker Acted before.
4. Has there been any calls concerning this individuals well being in the past 48 hours.
These are just a few. You can see how this information can be of great importance when an Officer is responding to a mental health call.
Becca’s Law is a scoring system, that would replace the current criteria that is used to determine someone’s mental state when Law Enforcement are called for a Well Being or Suicide check. The “Becca Score” is determined by an individual’s previously recorded actions pertaining to their mental history and stands for: Behavioral, Emotional, Cognitive, Conduct, Assessment, Score. This Scoring system is not based on any one individual’s judgment, bias or prejudice. This Scoring system can be used by all responders even Rookies. There is no special training required.
The Assessment Score is a point value system . These points are based on certain factor’s pertaining to one’s previous recorded mental history. Each factor relating to the individual’s previous mental history has a pre-determined point value. When this point value exceeds 7 points, the individual must be detained either voluntarily or in-voluntarily for their safety and the safety of others.
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