Survey Indicates Police Are Overburdened by Mental Health Overflow


A new nationwide survey of 2,406 senior law enforcement officials indicates that police agencies are being overburdened by the mentally ill, according to the Huffington Post. DJ Jaffe, executive director of, writes that this is the unintended consequence of a policy change that “removed the daily care of our nation’s severely mentally ill population from the medical community and place it with the criminal justice system,” prompting a spike in the arrests of severely mentally ill persons.

The survey by Michael C. Biasotti, vice president of the New York State Chiefs of Police, calls for implementation of assisted outpatient treatment laws to improve care for people with mental illness, conserve law enforcement resources, and keep patients and the public safer. The laws allow courts to order mandatory treatment for severely mentally ill individuals who have a past history of dangerous behavior, arrest, incarceration or multiple hospitalizations.

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