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  • 1.  Weapons - response to client weapons

    Posted 11-15-2020 10:10
    We are a behavioral health agency in Cleveland Ohio, continuing to provide outreach services to those in our community who are homeless, struggling with a behavioral health crisis or who have experienced trauma because of a recent homicide to a family member or other sudden death.  The majority of those we work with have extensive histories of trauma, some are living on the streets or in neighborhoods where violence has imploded.  The homicide rate in Cleveland has increased significantly, as has the general sense of anxiety and uncertainty that the pandemic has brought with it.

    we are seeing increased incidences where those we are working with are carrying weapons.  They may share with us that they have them, another client may tell us that a person is carrying a gun, homes we go into following a homicide may be shared with others who are likely carrying weapons.  While we have a 'no weapons' policy in our workplace (we do not want or use a metal detector, have attempted both of those and the challenges they presented were massive), because of the nature of the work that we do (outreach), it is generally when a staffperson is out in the community that they learn of  the client and a weapon.

    Do any of you have policies or directives for your teams about how to respond to these situations?  We have gotten legal guidance about our obligation to report weapons (only in situations where we believe that there is imminent danger to self or others), and have constantly advised staff that at any time they have any sense of discomfort or concern for their safety, they are to immediately get themselves into a space where they are safe and then reach out to a manager/director.

    Looking for guidance from others who may be grappling with similar situations.  We are not an office-based agency, we work in the community.  the weather is changing, teams can no longer meet at mcdonalds.  Thoughts?

    Thanks much!

    Susan Neth
    Executive Director
    FrontLine Service, DBA MHS, Inc.
    Cleveland OH

  • 2.  RE: Weapons - response to client weapons

    Posted 11-16-2020 09:39
    Good morning,
    The importance of the agency knowing where the team member is and when that visit has ended would be a beneficial tool in case of an incident.  Assessment of Client for potential of violence may demonstrate need for 2 Staff to visit.  I agree, the uncertainty of the days ahead increases the inherent risk associated with providing services.
    Best wishes,
    Gloria Magarelli  RN


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