Law Enforcement Mental Health Learning Sites

Jurisdictions around the country are exploring strategies to improve the outcomes of encounters between law enforcement and people who have mental disorders. As a growing number of communities engage in the development of specialized policing responses (SPR), many struggle with the program design process, and are unsure how to tailor models from other jurisdictions to their own distinct problems and circumstances.

In an effort to expand the knowledge base for law enforcement agencies interested in starting or enhancing a SPR, The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, with assistance from a team of national experts and the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), selected six police departments to act as national law enforcement/mental health learning sites. Located across the country, these learning sites represent a diverse cross-section of perspectives and program examples, and are dedicated to helping other jurisdictions improve their responses to people with mental illnesses. Selected were the Houston (TX) Police Department, the Los Angeles (CA) Police Department, the Madison (WI) Police Department, the Portland (ME) Police Department, the Salt Lake City (UT) Police Department, and the University of Florida Police Department.

The Law Enforcement/Mental Health learning sites collectively reflect the range of strategies a law enforcement agency might consider when developing a collaborative initiative to address the needs of individuals with mental illnesses in their community. As centers of peer-to-peer learning and support, learning site personnel are committed to providing guidance to agencies in other jurisdictions that are interested in creating or expanding their own Specialized Policing Responses.

The six learning sites will host site visits from interested colleagues and other local and state government officials over a two-year period, answer questions from the field, and work with Justice Center staff to develop materials for practitioners and their community partners.

Download the following files to learn about the technical assistance (TA) offered by the learning sites:

TA Request Form

Learn more about Mental Health Court Learning Sites

“The learning site project creates a forum for policing officials to learn from one another how to prevent those rare, but horrific encounters that result in injury or death; reduce repeat calls that take officers off the streets for long periods; and better link individuals to services when appropriate.”

Chief, Spokane Police Department and Justice Center board member Frank Straub