A guide on how law enforcements hould respond to people with mental illnesses has been released by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the Police Executive Research Forum. It identifies 10 key components in successful law enforcement initiatives to provide better outcomes in officers' encounters with individuals with mental illnesses. The publication, funded by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance, notes that on rare but highly publicized occasions, incidents result in injury or death for the individual, officer or others at the scene. More often, officers spend long periods on complex, repeat calls for service only to see the person cycle through the criminal justice system without any positive long-term effect.
“Until now, there has been limited agreement at the national level about what was needed to successfully implement a specialized response,” said Edward Flynn, Milwaukee Police Chief and a Justice Center board member. “This guide will help law enforcement and their partners provide safe and effective responses to people with mental illnesses.”