Law Enforcement Media Clips

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Opinion: Maine Voices—Blaming Police for Failures of Mental Health System Is Misplaced

Under the leadership of Chief Michael Sauschuck, the Portland Police Department created a Behavioral Health Response Program that, among other innovations employs a full-time clinical social worker as a behavioral health coordinator and retains master’s-level interns from the University of Southern Maine’s clinical counseling program.

Opinion: The Police Need to Understand Autism

Rob Zink, an officer from the St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota, started the Cop Autism Response Education Project to train his fellow officers how to interact with autistic people, inspired by his experience of having two sons on the spectrum. Officer Zink pointed out that sirens and flashing lights alone can be catastrophic sensory overload for people with autism, while a calm voice and a reassuring demeanor can go a long way toward de-escalating a tense confrontation.

Cops and the Mentally Ill: Finding a New Approach

“There has been a greater appreciation for the need for officers to be well versed in how to deal with people in crisis,” said Frank Straub, Director of Strategic Studies for the Police Foundation.

Community “Stepping up” to Help Inmates with Mental Illnesses

Executive Director of the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center Rob Johnson explained that what is intended for the region may end up being a pilot project for the entire state. The initiative would provide an assessment tool they can use when individuals come into and through the system.

Police Practice De-Escalation Tactics

Police across the country are working on ways to de-escalate potential confrontations with the public, focusing their resources on dealing with those with mental illnesses.