Do Police Keep Records of Wellness Checks?
Yes, police departments are required to keep records of their activities, including wellness checks.
Wellness checks are an essential service that police officers provide to ensure the well-being of individuals who may be in distress or danger. While wellness checks are typically conducted with the best intentions, there is growing concern about the police’s role in wellness checks and the records they keep.
This blog post examines whether police keep records of wellness checks and the implications for privacy and confidentiality.
What are Wellness Checks?
Wellness checks, also known as welfare checks, are checks conducted by law enforcement officers to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals who may be at risk.
Police officers typically conduct wellness checks when they receive reports of someone who may be in distress, such as someone who has not been heard from in a while, someone who may be suicidal, or someone who may be a victim of abuse.
Records Kept by the Police
Police departments are required to keep records of their activities, including wellness checks. These records are typically kept in a database and may include information such as the date and time of the wellness check, the name and contact information of the person who requested the check, and any relevant information obtained during the check, such as the individual’s mental health status, medical conditions, and living conditions.
Police departments have legal obligations to keep records of their activities, including wellness checks. These records are kept to ensure accountability, track trends in criminal activity, and inform policy decisions. However, there are concerns about the potential impact of these records on individuals’ privacy and confidentiality.
Privacy and Confidentiality Considerations
Privacy and confidentiality are critical considerations when it comes to wellness checks. Individuals who are the subject of wellness checks have the right to privacy and confidentiality, and police departments must take steps to protect their personal information.
Police departments must comply with legal requirements to protect personal information obtained during wellness checks. This includes ensuring that records are stored securely, only authorized personnel have access to records, and information is not disclosed to third parties without the individual’s consent or a court order.
Who Can Access Wellness Check Records?
Wellness check records are subject to access restrictions to protect individuals’ privacy and confidentiality. Generally, only authorized personnel, such as police officers and healthcare professionals, have access to wellness check records.
Individuals who are the subject of wellness checks may also have access to their records, depending on the jurisdiction. In some cases, individuals may need to provide proof of identity and pay a fee to obtain copies of their records.
Alternatives to Police Wellness Checks
There are growing concerns about the police’s role in wellness checks, particularly for individuals who are members of marginalized communities. Some critics argue that police officers are not adequately trained to deal with mental health crises and that their presence can escalate situations and lead to harm.
Alternative models for conducting wellness checks have emerged in recent years, including community-based programs that are staffed by mental health professionals, social workers, and other trained professionals. These programs prioritize de-escalation, communication, and connection over law enforcement intervention.
Wellness checks are an important service that police officers provide to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals in distress.
However, concerns about privacy, confidentiality, and police intervention have prompted calls for alternative models for conducting wellness checks. While police departments are required to keep records of their activities, including wellness checks, they must take steps to protect individuals’ personal information and ensure that records are not used inappropriately.
As the conversation around wellness checks continues, it is important to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of different models for conducting wellness checks and the impact on individuals’ privacy and confidentiality.