South Carolina senators delay mental patient transport bill

February 13, 2019 - 11:25 am

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A group of senators say a proposal to overhaul how mental health patients are transported in South Carolina needs more work.

Sen. Marlon Kimpson started working on the bill after two mental health patients drowned in the back of a locked police van while being taken from the Myrtle Beach area in September during Hurricane Florence.

The Charleston Democrat's proposal would allow family members or others to transport a patient who has been committed to a mental hospital if the patient isn't dangerous. It would also require police agencies to create a "therapeutic transport team" of trained officers when law enforcement must move patients.

Senators in a subcommittee Wednesday worried about how to pay for the team. They suggested creating regional police teams instead of relying on local police agencies.

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