The Downtown Resource Officers Mansur and Tanis recently completed a comprehensive study tracking 93 of Billings’ most Chronic High Utilizers for the year of 2020. This study, linked below, involved the Billings Police Department, Billings Municipal Court, Billings Clinic, and Saint Vincent Hospital.
The comprehensive study found 93 individuals accounted for 5601 Law Enforcement contacts, 2110 combined hospital visits, 1504 arrests, 547 citations, and 634 warnings. It cost and estimated $5.14 million at Billings Clinic and $2.6 million at Saint Vincent Hospital in un-reimbursable care. An estimated $2.58 million in employee resources was used by the Billings Police Department and Billings Municipal Court. The cost in emergency services and hospitalizations to serve one Chronic High Utilizer in 2020 was approximately $111,050.
Areas for Improvement
With all of the data collected, areas in need of improvement were observed. The Resource Officers and Billings Police Department believe these areas of improvement are attainable. 2020 was a year of high enforcement on the high utilizer population. The highest level of enforcement performed was issuing citations, warnings, and moving people along. The first area of improvement observed was to expand the current Yellowstone County jail infrastructure. With a lack of jail space, there is an inability to make arrests or have defendants appear in court for criminal activity.
The second area for improvement presented is a need for a jail diversion in the form of a sobering center or short-term detox facility. With nowhere appropriate to take chronic high utilizers, they end up in a hospital bed to sleep off their intoxication and then they are discharged. With no resources or access to resources during this critical time in an at-risk persons’ journey, it is impossible for them to know or have the ability to act on the help that is already provided within the city.