Overland Park takes first step toward creation of mental health task force

City Councilman Chris Newlin, seen in a file photo, would chair the new mental health task force if the proposal to establish the group is approved by the full city council.

A mental health task force was not exactly what Overland Park transparency advocate Sheila Albers originally asked for. But she said Wednesday she is pleased that the city council’s public safety committee took the first steps toward a group that will invite diverse public participation on city policies pertaining to mental health.

The added transparency is important, she said, “because with that transparency we are able to identify where systems have not worked for people.” Albers, whose son died in a police shooting, added that she was glad that Councilmember Faris Farassati asked that police use of force be included among the topics the task force will examine.