Springfield City Council creates mental health committee after fatal shooting by police
The City Council in Springfield, Massachusetts, is creating a mental health committee, partly in response to a recent fatal shooting by police.
Orlando Taylor died in January after he was shot by a police officer during what Taylor's family said was a mental health crisis. The Hampden District Attorney's office ruled the shooting "reasonable and unavoidable" because Taylor attacked the officer with a knife.
City Councilor Zaida Govan said shoring up the region's mental health services, especially given the pandemic, could help prevent similar tragedies.
Govan, herself a social worker, will chair the mental health committee. She said she hopes it will shine a light on — even if it can't fix — a stressed system.
"I think we'll be able to come up with a plan to at least help the agencies that are already serving possibly encourage other agencies to step up and maybe participate in the work," Govan said. "I think a collaborative effort would be a lot more helpful than what's happening now."
Starting in about two months, Govan said the committee will talk to mental health professionals, police, and community members.