Resources for Law Enforcement

This brief offers a repository of publications and technical assistance tools created by the CSG Justice Center with funding support from BJA’s Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program. Photo credit: Canva

Dr. Ayesha Delany-Brumsey | Updated November 2022 | The Council of State Governments Justice Center

Resources for Law Enforcement

The following publications and tools were created by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, with funding support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program.

Technical Assistance

Law Enforcement-Mental Health Collaboration Support Center

The Law Enforcement-Mental Health Collaboration Support Center offers free training, resources, and support to communities wanting to improve their law enforcement and community responses to people with behavioral health conditions or intellectual and developmental disabilities. Find here:

Law Enforcement Mental Health Learning Sites Program

The 14 Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Sites are available to help agencies looking to tailor successful implementation strategies and response models to address their own distinct problems and circumstances. Find here:
See also: law-enforcement-mental-health-learning-sites/

Practical Tools

National Police-Mental Health Collaboration Program Survey of the largest U.S City Police Departments

This interactive map shows the frequency of collaborative law enforcement-behavioral health interventions across municipal police departments in 70 of the largest U.S. cities. The types of initiatives highlighted in the map focus on improving individual and community health outcomes, reducing unnecessary law enforcement contact for people with behavioral health needs or experiencing homelessness, and protecting public safety. Find here:

Police-Mental Health Collaboration Self- Assessment Tool

The PMHC Self-Assessment tool helps law enforcement agencies and their behavioral health partners assess their progress toward implementing high quality partnership-based interventions. This tool is designed to provide unique resources that help agencies improve their responses to calls for service for people with mental illnesses and/or co-occurring substance use conditions. Find here:

Police-Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit

The Police-Mental Health Collaboration (PMHC) Toolkit serves as a clearinghouse for PMHC information and resources for both executives and front-line officers. The toolkit now includes a brand new module on effective responses to people experiencing homelessness. Law enforcement agencies can use this resource to develop collaborations with homeless service partners to build interventions (e.g., homeless outreach teams) to connect people to housing and other supports. Find here:

Guidance for Executive Leadership

Police-Mental Health Collaborations: A Framework for Implementing Effective Law Enforcement Responses for People Who Have Mental Health Needs

Officers are often called on to be the first, and sometimes the only, responders to calls involving people with mental health needs. This framework aims to help law enforcement agencies advance comprehensive, agency-wide responses in partnership with behavioral health providers. Find here:

Taking the Call: A National Conference Exploring Innovative Community Responder Models

In October 2021, this conference brought together more than 1,500 attendees to discuss best and emerging practices around crisis response—including innovative responses where health staff address 911 calls for behavioral health crises and other related calls for service on their own. The Taking the Call website features session recordings, as well as a repository of briefs, tools, and other resources. Find here:

Practical Briefs

Addressing Misconceptions about Mental Health and Violence

Despite public perception that there is a direct connection between mental health and violence, research shows that this relationship is complex, and that the presence of a mental illness doesn’t automatically predispose a person to violent behavior. As criminal justice professionals work to protect public safety, it’s important that their policies and practices reflect accurate information, not common misperceptions. This brief addresses these misconceptions, presents important information about risk factors for violence, and offers ways that criminal justice professionals can help to mitigate such risks. Find here:

Building a Comprehensive and Coordinated Crisis System

Across the nation, communities are grappling with how to respond to crisis calls, particularly ones involving people with behavioral health needs. As they work to build and expand their crisis systems, communities are also looking to expand beyond typical police responses to include mental health professionals and other community responders. This brief highlights the continuum of responses that make up a comprehensive, coordinated crisis system and offers guidance for building a system that addresses local needs. Find here:

Developing and Implementing Your Co-Responder Program

Many law enforcement agencies are seeking alternatives to arrest or hospitalization to help ensure best outcomes for people in need. One growing approach, known as co-responder programs, pairs health care professionals with officers to respond to behavioral health crisis calls. This brief describes ways to ensure these programs are successful. Find here:

How to Reduce Repeat Encounters: A Brief for Law Enforcement Executives

Law enforcement agencies across the country are facing the challenge of how to efficiently respond to people their officers frequently encounter and spending an enormous amount of time and resources ineffectively responding to these individuals. This two-page brief provides practical steps law enforcement executives can take to address and improve outcomes for people who are high utilizers in their jurisdiction. Find here:

How to Use 988 to Respond to Behavioral Health Crisis Calls

The national suicide and crisis lifeline, now available by dialing or texting 988, offers an opportunity for states and local communities to change the way they respond to people with behavioral health needs. This brief highlights important facts about the dedicated lifeline and offers tips to help communities prepare for the transition. Find here:

Mental Health Training: Strategies for Small and Rural Law Enforcement Agencies

Small and rural jurisdictions, which make up the majority of police departments across the country, often face distinct challenges that make it difficult to implement the types of mental health training programs that larger and urban agencies can access. This brief details strategies for small and rural law enforcement agencies to develop and implement comprehensive, high-quality training that creatively addresses their unique challenges.
Find here:

The Role of Probation and Parole in Making Housing a Priority for People with Behavioral Health Needs

Safe, affordable, and permanent housing is widely recognized as one of the most crucial components of successful reentry. But finding permanent housing is often a challenge for people leaving prison or jail, particularly people with behavioral health needs who often cycle between homeless shelters, jails, and psychiatric institutions. This brief explains how probation and parole officers can help people with behavioral health needs obtain safe and affordable housing as they reenter the community. Find here:

Tips for Successfully Implementing a 911 Dispatch Diversion Program

A model showing great promise across the U.S. is 911 dispatch diversion, sometimes called crisis call diversion. The approach aims to reduce unnecessary police contact by connecting people to mental health professionals when someone contacts 911 due to a behavioral health crisis or other health or social service need. This brief outlines four tips for successfully implementing 911 dispatch diversion in a community. Find here:

Tips for Successfully Implementing Crisis Stabilization Units

A growing number of jurisdictions are creating crisis stabilization units (CSUs) to provide officers with an option to link people to the most appropriate supportive services, help reduce arrests, and improve outcomes for people with behavioral health needs. This brief provides an overview of CSUs for criminal justice professionals and offers universal, practical tips to design and operate a successful CSU. Find here:

Trauma-Informed Approaches Across the Sequential Intercept Model

People in the criminal justice system experience alarming rates of trauma prior to and as a result of their involvement in the system. Yet criminal justice professionals have often struggled to recognize and respond to trauma among this population. This brief explores how criminal justice professionals can take a trauma-informed approach to their work at each point of contact in the justice system. By employing this approach, they can help to reduce recidivism and incidents of violence while also improving service engagement and recovery. Find here:

Project Credits

Writing: Dr. Ayesha Delany-Brumsey, CSG Justice Center

Editing: Darby Baham, CSG Justice Center

Design: Shannon Moriarty, CSG Justice Center

Public Affairs: Ruvi Lopez, CSG Justice Center

Web Development: Eleventy Group and Catherine Allary, CSG Justice Center

This brief was supported by Grant No. 2019-MO-BX-K002, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Pro¬grams, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.


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Ayesha Delany-Brumsey
Director, Behavioral Health
Dr. Ayesha Delany-Brumsey oversees the Behavioral Health Division and its various portfolios, which focus on how parts of the criminal justice system intersect with the mental health, substance addiction, and homelessness systems, among others. Before joining the organization, Ayesha was
most recently the director of Behavioral Health Research and Programming at the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice in New York City. Prior to that, she was the director of the Substance Use and Mental Health program at the Vera Institute. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
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