The country’s ongoing mental health crisis is vividly on display inside the state’s largest county jail.

As NCN’s Joe Jordan tells us new numbers find the Douglas County Corrections Center equaling a record no one is praising.

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For the last few years Omaha Police have been tracking the times they’re called to help people who are struggling with themselves.

Deputy Chief Steve Cerveny: “In 2021 the department responded to 4,476 9-1-1 calls responding to individuals with some sort of mental health crisis. OPD received many more contacts from individuals with a mental health concern or concerned family member or friend.”

And when one of those nearly 12-times-a-day calls results in an arrest, the suspect winds up here the Douglas County Jail, which just equaled a less than rewarding one-month record.

Michael Myers, Director of Douglas County Corrections: “And 48 percent of our population was diagnosed with a mental illness tying the highest level on record.”

Numbers setting off an alarm bell for at least one County Commissioner.

Commissioner Mike Friend, Douglas County (R): “On any given day we have 1,100 people in our facility. That would equate to, approximately, a ballpark, 500 individuals right now, currently 500 individuals that have been identified as possessing a verifiable mental health or substance abuse issue. Correct or incorrect?”

Myers: “That’s correct Commissioner.”

Friend: “I don’t consider myself a drama guy, but those statistics are telling. We can’t take those 500 people and move them somewhere else. When a cop drives in and picks up an individual who is either violating a serious law or violating a minor law and they bring them downtown and they’ve been diagnosed with that type of situation, do you think there’s anybody that’s going to take that individual other than the corrections facility that we have and the professionals that we have downtown.”

Lacking in all those numbers, solutions. By the way, one other number raising eyebrows, inmates here on some level of suicide watch, 10 percent, 105 inmates.