'We are moving the needle': Walnut Creek police to change approach to mental illness after mother's efforts

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Walnut Creek Police announced at Tuesday night's city council meeting they will allocate $100,000 toward expanding their crisis intervention team. The goal will be to have someone available around the clock to respond to mental health emergencies.

"These people would have above and beyond additional training to better equip them to handle the sort of crises that we're, we're faced with," Captain Jay Hill told the council.

This announcement comes after the family of Miles Hall has pushed for change since his shooting death in June of 2019.

"I feel like there's positivity. We are moving the needle and I feel like that is important," Taun Hall, Miles mother, said Wednesday morning.

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But she also said she doesn't think the answer lies with the police department.

Her son was 23-years-old at the time of his death and had been diagnosed as schizoaffective.

She says at the time he was shot, he thought he was Jesus and was holding a garden tool he thought was protecting him.

Police perceived it as a threat and shot and killed him.

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His mother has been speaking out and has attended every city council meeting since.

But it was the death of George Floyd that really helped shine a spotlight on what happened to Miles.

Taun has spoken at several Black Lives Matter protests and several demonstrations have since been organized for Miles.

"The passion and reason we are doing this is to save lives. Miles was innocent with a garden tool and in broad daylight he was shot," she said.

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She is hoping this momentum will continue.

"I feel like the city is trying to make some change and we appreciate that but we really want to see a non-police response to mentally ill calls. It's going to be a big shift," she said.

The shooting death of Miles is still under investigation.

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