Mental Health Unit
The mission of the Mental Health Unit is to provide assistance to individuals suffering from mental health illness and crisis through counseling and diversion, medical help and stabilization, coordination for placement in mental health facilities or treatment centers, and connecting individuals with resources and referrals for continuity of care. We are dedicated to positively impacting the quality of life for citizens of San Marcos and treating all people, including individuals who happen to have an illness, with dignity and respect.
Investigative Support and Follow up
Our officers respond to calls for service regarding individuals who may be experiencing a mental health related crisis. We also conduct home and follow-up visits to help divert future crisis and calls for service.
The San Marcos Police Department's Mental Health Unit consists of one corporal, two officers, a qualified mental health professional, and one certified therapy K-9. Normal duty hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Mental Health Statistics
- In 2023, SMPD received 2,290 calls for service involving a mental health concern.
- 57% of the mental health calls were responded to by a mental health officer
- 342 of the calls responded to by a mental health officer were co-responded by a qualified mental health professional
- Mental health related calls led to 259 emergency detentions
- The therapy K-9 was deployed 52 times
Crisis Response Care Coordinator
In 2023 SMPD added a qualified mental health professional from the Scheib Center to the unit. This individual responds with the mental health officers on calls for service regarding mental health. This individual is tasked with providing resources and information regarding mental health care in San Marcos and Hays County. In addition to working with the mental health unit, the qualified mental health professional assist in mental health care training within the department and in the community.
This individual is trained to complete emergency mental health psychiatric evaluations in the community. This individual can also access funding to support un-insured community members to coordinate continued care. A mental health crisis psychiatric evaluation considers current and past events to determine safe options for individuals in crisis.
Scheib Center and MCOT
We work with the Scheib Center and the Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (MCOT) in crisis situations. MCOT is designed to bring expert psychiatric assistance to individuals in the community setting. This partnership allows increased quality of care and less reliance on emergency services and criminal justice involvement.
To request a training or presentation from the Mental Health Unit, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For a complete list of resources, please view the following document
Mental Health Unit Recommended Resources:
Emergency Crisis Line:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline:
Branches-Austin Oaks Hospital:
Hill Country Youth Respite Home:
The San Marcos Police Mental Health Unit's three certified therapy K-9s assist officers on calls by attempting to decrease anxiety and stress that people in crisis may be experiencing. The therapy K-9s also assist at the Scheib Center in San Marcos and meet with clients dealing with stress when requested. To request assistance, leave a message at 512-393-8081 ext. 9100.
Sophie is a 3 year old Shiba Inu mixed with an American Eskimo commonly referred as an Imo-Inu. Sophie is a recue pup from the Brevard County Animal Shelter in Florida. Sophie is a Graduate from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Paws and Stripes Academy (Florida) where she and her handler, Officer Joyce Bender attended a 40 hour Law Enforcement Investigative Therapy K9 Course. During this training Sophie earned her AKC Canine Good Citizen. Sophie and her handler also became a Nationally Certified Multi Discipline Therapy K9 Team on June 11 2021. Sophie is assigned to the San Marcos Police Department Mental Health Unit, where she helps citizens experiencing a crisis. Sophie has the ability to help people in crisis, relax to the point where they are able problem solve. Sophie has assisted the Mental Health Unit on over 52 Calls for Service since being assigned to the Mental Health Unit. While not helping people in a crisis, Sophie spends her time visiting employees of the Police Department and Dispatch Centers. Sophie is also a regular at the local ER in San Marcos where she has been told that she has made the ER Staff day. Sophie also attends community functions such as Coffee with a Cop and SRP drills in the surrounding schools. Sophie has also assisted many children who are victims having to testify in court and relive their trauma. Although Sophie is not allowed in the courtroom during the Child’s testimony, Sophie does sit with the children and play while they are waiting to testify. Having Sophie present during this tough time, it gives the children a chance to relax and not think about having to testify in front of their abusers.
Stay up to date of Sophie's day-to-day activities by following Therapy Dogs of SMPD on Facebook!
Sheldon Cooper, a collie mix, joined the SMPD Mental Health Unit in 2017. It was the first time in history that a Texas law enforcement agency added a therapy dog to its mental health unit. Sheldon is the personal dog of Officer Bender, who she donated to SMPD's mental health program when it was founded. Together Officer Bender and Sheldon attended a training program in Florida and became a nationally registered therapy dog team.