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Lansing Police Department's new crisis assessment team enters new phase

Posted at 11:08 PM, Sep 30, 2022

LANSING, Mich. — Almost three years ago, Jason Gallegos was shot and killed by police about 20 feet from his Lansing home.

Jason’s mom, Maria Gallegos, said he dealt with mental health issues, and also said that if the Lansing Police Department had proper training on how to handle these types of situations, her son may still be here.

FOX 47 requested body cam video from the Lansing Police Department that shows when 36-year-old Jason Gallegos was shot and killed by officers in front of his home.

Officers said they negotiated with Jason for over an hour and even waited until after Jason shot an officer before returning fire. Maria was there when the shooting happened.

“I was just so shock, I didn’t know what to say or what to do,” Maria said.

Maria said behind her son’s bright smile and charming personality he was battling mental health challenges. Which is why on the night of the shooting, she remembers trying to reason with police.

“I told them to just leave him alone he’s sick, he’s sick ,” she said.

The Michigan Attorney General's Office ultimately decided not to file charges against the five officers who fired shots at Jason.

The Lansing Police Department did not want to comment on that case but said they're trying to build a stronger connection with those battling mental health issues through a new initiative called the Lansing crisis assessment team.

“We were awarded $1.3 million, and I said, 'Hey, let's get to work,'” said Jessica Martin with the department.

The team will consist of four full-time social workers and police officers who will work together with a common goal of deescalating situations that involve those struggling with mental health issues.

"The officers will be community police officers, but anyone who will be participating will be crisis intervention trained,” Martin said. “They will top through a 40-hour training that will cover mental health and crisis deescalate strategy.”

We’re told the crisis team won’t just show up when something hostile happens, but they’ll also be in the community getting to know those who need help.

Maria said if Jason would’ve had resources like the crisis team, things may have not gotten so bad. But now, she’s still hurting and focusing on healing a heart that is broken.

“Half of my heart is gone, half of my heart is gone because he was my baby son,” Maria said.

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Tianna Jenkins

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