Police Foundation Convenes Expert Group on Violence, Mental Illness


The Washington, D.C.-based Police Foundation yesterday convened experts from the law enforcement, science, mental health, and policy arenas to focus on mental health-related gun violence. The group distilled existing research into a framework that combines prevention and intervention strategies to give communities and the police a path to preventing mental health-related shootings rather than simply responding to the scene of yet another tragedy.

The group assembled a “Community Crisis Early Intervention System” to help avert future incidents like the Newtown, Ct., school massacre and to get those suffering with mental illness the help they need. Foundation President Jim Bueermann said the group’s three key recommendations are that police should create partnerships with mental health service providers, school officials, and community groups to develop a mental health crisis rsponse capacity; use the bully pulpit to keep community focus on the need for mental health services, and adopt policies and practices that help reduce the availability of firearms to people in mental health crisis, institutionalize mental health training for their officers, and facilitate community-wide “mental health first aid” training for all community members.

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