ORDER OF PROTECTIVE CUSTODY

The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner may order a person to be taken into protective custody and transported to a treatment facility or the office of the coroner for immediate examination when a peace officer or other credible person executes a statement under private signature specifying that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, the person is mentally ill or suffering from substance abuse and is in need of immediate treatment to protect the person or others from physical harm. The order for custody shall be effective for seventy-two hours from its issuance.

The statement may include the following information:

  • A statement of facts, including the affiant's observations, leading to the conclusion that the person is mentally ill or suffering from substance abuse and dangerous to himself or others or gravely disabled

  • The date and place of any dangerous acts or threats

  • The name and surname, if known, of any other person who is in danger

  • Facts showing that the person sought has been encouraged to seek treatment and is unwilling to be evaluated on a voluntary basis

  • Facts showing that the affiant has attempted to contact a specific treatment facility or a specific physician in order to obtain an examination of the person sought to be treated

A peace officer or a peace officer accompanied by an emergency medical service trained technician may take a person into protective custody and transport him to a treatment facility for a medical evaluation when, as a result of his personal observation, the peace officer or emergency medical service technician has reasonable grounds to believe the person is a proper subject for involuntary admission to a treatment facility because the person is acting in a manner dangerous to himself or dangerous to others, is gravely disabled, and is in need of immediate hospitalization to protect such a person or others from physical harm.

 

Notice of Improper Commitment

As per Mental Health Statute 28:181, Improper Commitment Penalty, any person who, alone or in conspiracy with others, unlawfully, willfully, maliciously and without reasonable cause, commits or attempts to commit to any mental institution any person not sufficiently ill to require care shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or imprisonment for not more than one (1) year, or both.

  

As per Louisiana Statutes R.S. 442, any person who, alone or in conspiracy with others, unlawfully, willfully, maliciously and without reasonable cause, commits or attempts to commit to any residential living option or mental retardation and developmental disability services or both, any person who does not meet the criteria of eligibility to enter the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disability Services System shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or imprisoned for not more than six (6) months, or both.

Frequently asked questions

What does OPC stand for?


Order of Protective Custody




Why is the Coroner’s Office involved in issuing an Order of Protective Custody?


As stated in Louisiana Revised Statute 28:53.2, any Parish Coroner may order a person to be taken into protective custody and transported to a treatment facility.




Can an OPC be done at home, over the phone, via fax or email?


No, it must be done at the Coroner’s office by the person who has witnessed the recent behavior




Can an OPC be done anytime at the Coroner’s Office?


No, only during normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.




Can anyone complete an OPC?


An OPC can be completed by anyone who has witnessed the recent behavior of the person in question




What criteria does one have to meet in order for an OPC to be issued?


A person has to be unwilling or unable to seek voluntary admission, be a danger to self or others (including acts or threats), be gravely disabled, suffering from substance abuse that leads to previously stated criteria, or observation leading to the conclusion that the person is mentally ill




When does an OPC expire?


An OPC expires 72 hours from its issued date and time or upon completion of the transport to the treatment facility. A person can only be picked up once per OPC.




Does an OPC guarantee commitment or placement into a mental health or treatment facility?


No, the OPC will only allow for the examination of the patient. The patient can be admitted or discharged based on the examination findings.




Will I be notified once the OPC transport is completed?


You will not be notified of the transport.




Will I be notified by the hospital of the status of the person on the OPC?


Not necessarily. You may contact the staff at the hospital where the person is transported to or you may go to the hospital to speak with the staff in person.




Is the OPC public record?


Yes, it is a public record.