NYC Police Faulted on Handling Mental Crises

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The New York Police Department doesn’t have an efficient system to dispatch trained officers to crises involving mentally ill people, says the city’s Inspector General,  the Wall Street Journal reports. Since June 2015, Some 5,200 NYPD officers have undergone Crisis Intervention Training ( CIT), which trains police to defuse incidents, avoid placing mentally ill people into custody and help them get treatment. The department’s computer dispatch system has no way of identifying those officers when sending police to such an incident, said the watchdog agency.

A police spokesman said the department is “assessing the on-going CIT program in an effort to more effectively address the availability of trained personnel to respond to calls for the emotionally disturbed, in the most timely and efficient manner possible.” The Inspector General said that the goals of CIT training have also yet to be implemented departmentwide. The current patrol guide still emphasizes taking “emotionally disturbed persons” into custody.  The report also found that the police department lacks a person or unit tasked with managing the program. A coordinator is needed to deploy the program efficiently and implement systematic changes, as is training for more officers, specifically emergency call takers, the new report said.

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