Two of Bill Hollenbeck's final focuses as sheriff are those he has had for years — the lowering of the Sebastian County Adult Detention Center population and the success of the regional crisis stabilization unit.
Hollenbeck, who is stepping down from his role as Sebastian County Sheriff at the end of 2018, has worked in the latter part of his eight years as sheriff to reduce the number of detainees in the county jail and opening the Five West Crisis Stabilization Unit. While his goal for the jail remains unchanged, he plans to use his last five and a half months in office to ensure law enforcement officials know who to divert from their respective jails to CSU.
CSU, which opened in February, is used by law enforcement officials in Sebastian, Crawford, Franklin, Logan, Scott and Polk counties to divert the mentally ill from jail to treatment. CSU officials in May said law enforcement officials' response to the facility had improved since it opened.
In light of the new facility, Hollenbeck said he will work with other sheriffs to push for more law enforcement officials to go through crisis intervention training. Arkansas Act 423 mandates 20 percent of law enforcement officials in the state to be certified in this training.
"Not only does it de-escalate violent situations, but also, it helps identify individuals who may be going through a crisis that we can steer out of the jail to the Crisis Stabilization Unit," he said of the training.
The use of CSU, Hollenbeck said, ties in with his goal of lowering the county jail population.
"One of the things I’m very proud of, of course, is the diversion of mentally ill people from the jail, so that’s something I think I would probably would work on with other sheriffs," he said.
The county jail, which has a bed count of 356, held 486 detainees on Oct. 11, 2017. Through the use CSU, Sebastian County's signature bond protocol and other measures, the jail population has since decreased.
Though the detainee population has decreased, it was still overcrowded on Tuesday, Hollenbeck said.
"The Director of Inmate Management and our jail administrator are going to be key components in ensuring the jail population is at a level that’s manageable," Hollenbeck said.
When it comes to the jail population, Hollenbeck said he and other county officials will continue what they have been doing. He also said they will continue setting goals to reach for population management.
"We need to continue to have discussions with our district judges, our circuit judges, public defenders and so forth to make sure we’ve got the right people in jail," he said.