“More and more we’re receiving calls from someone who is in crisis,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. It’s why Gonzalez wanted his agency to launch the ‘telepsych’ pilot program, a first of its kind in the country.

“With this iPad we’re able to contact a psychiatrist anywhere in the U.S.,” said deputy Jose Gomez. “They’ll be able to talk to psychiatrist while we’re on scene. Real time.”

The program was developed by Houston-based JSA Health Corp. Psychiatrists will be on call 24/7 to video chat with people deputies encounter on calls. Telepsych started Tuesday. KHOU was there was more deputies were trained on the new system.

“This gives them one more tool to better triage the situation and they’ll have a medical professional give them guidance in the field about what some options are for them,” said Gonzalez.

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