February 13, 2018
Categories: Mental Health

Supporting law enforcement to respond more effectively to people with mental illness and improve public safety

BJA logoThe Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Police Foundation, has selected the following four law enforcement agencies to act as peer-to-peer learning sites and assist other law enforcement agencies across the country in their efforts to improve services for people with mental illnesses: Madison County (TN) Sheriff’s Office; Arlington (MA) Police Department; Jackson County (OH) Sheriff’s Office; and Tucson (AZ) Police Department.

These additional sites were selected through a competitive process to participate in the BJA-supported Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Site initiative, which delivers peer-to-peer learning through a cooperative agreement with the CSG Justice Center. The new agency sites will join the current six sites—Houston (TX) Police Department; Los Angeles (CA) Police Department; Madison (WI) Police Department; Portland (ME) Police Department; Salt Lake City (UT) Police Department; and the University of Florida (FL) Police Department—representing a diverse cross-section of model strategies and examples of successful collaborations between law enforcement and mental health agencies. These ten learning sites, as host agencies, offer their experience and expertise to promote strategies that can save the life of an officer, citizen, or family member.

Together, the new sites will provide resources for state and local law enforcement agencies that are developing or enhancing a Police-Mental Health Collaboration (PMHC), such as a Crisis Intervention Team, co-response team, mobile crisis team, case management approach, or tailored approach, to more effectively respond to people with a mental illness. Participating agencies will be able to use the learning sites to help reduce repeat encounters with law enforcement; reduce arrests; increase connections to and availability of behavioral health resources; and make encounters with officers safer. Each learning site will answer questions from the field, host site visits, and work with CSG Justice Center staff to develop materials for practitioners and community partners.

Additional information regarding the Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Sites Initiative including instructions on how to request technical assistance from these law enforcement agencies—is available at the Law Enforcement Mental Health Learning Sites website or on the Police-Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit. Contact the Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Sites Program by emailing le-mh-learningsites@csgjusticecenter.org. To stay up to date on current information, subscribe to the CSG Justice Center monthly newsletters, Behavioral Health Newsletter, and National Reentry Resource Center Newsletter at http://csgjusticecenter.org/subscribe/. These newsletters are produced with funding support from BJA.

BJA helps to make American communities safer by strengthening the nation’s criminal justice system: its grants, training and technical assistance, and policy development services provide state, local, and tribal governments with the cutting edge tools and best practices they need to reduce violent and drug-related crime, support law enforcement, and combat victimization. To learn more about BJA, visit www.bja.gov, or follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DOJBJA/) and Twitter (@DOJBJA). BJA is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.

Source: JusticeCenter