Departments accustomed to arresting drug abusers are spearheading programs to get them into treatment, convinced that their old strategies weren’t working. They’re administering medication that reverses overdoses, allowing users to turn in drugs in exchange for treatment, and partnering with hospitals to intervene before abuse turns fatal.
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The most unique factor of the program: If a participant relapses into drug use, it’s not necessarily a trip to a county lockup. They’re given a second chance as long as they show signs of progress toward recovery.
Training for the frontline civilian employees included how to best communicate with callers who may be having a mental health crisis, techniques to calm a situation before officers arrive and how to recognize situations that may need a response from officers specially trained in crisis intervention.
As he considers how to put his public safety agenda into action, we urge him to listen to the people who know this work best: law enforcement leaders.
The NYPD has more than 4,000 specially trained cops to deescalate incidents involving the mentally ill, but they’ve been ineffective in getting the officers to critical scenes, a recent report found.
Sacramento City Council members on Thursday unanimously approved giving all Sacramento police officers a week of training to better deal with people with mental illness. Crisis Intervention Team training is widely used across the United States, and teaches officers to recognize and de-escalate situations with noncompliant or difficult people.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to expand the number of employees assigned to the department’s Mental Evaluation Teams so they can respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and to find ways to pay for the mission.
In November, the Anderson Police Department in Indiana hosted Crisis Intervention Team training and opened it up to other law enforcement agencies. A total of 27 officers from six Indiana law enforcement agencies took part in the 40-hour exercise.
Mental-health professionals teaching Clermont police crisis-intervention techniques recently put their training into practice.
The unusual exchange grows out of a new partnership between the Albuquerque Police Department and the University of New Mexico School of Medicine’s Project ECHO — a 13-year-old initiative that began as an effort to help inform primary care doctors in far-flung areas of the state in the treatment of hepatitis C, but has now expanded to become a knowledge-sharing network across a variety of diseases and specialties.