Police Response to Persons Affected by Mental Illness: One Mind Campaign
The Annapolis Police Department is pleased to announce that they have pledged to take action in support of the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s One Mind Campaign, with the intent to unite local communities, public safety organizations, and mental health organizations in such a way that the three become “of one mind.”
The One Mind Campaign seeks to ensure successful interactions between police officers and persons with mental illness. To join the campaign, the department has committed to implementing four promising practices over a 12–36 month timeframe. These four strategies include (1) establishing a clearly defined and sustainable partnership with one or more community mental health organization(s), (2) developing and implementing a model policy addressing police response to persons affected by mental illness, (3) training and certifying 100 percent of the agency’s sworn officers (and selected non-sworn staff, such as dispatchers) in Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety, and (4) providing Crisis Intervention Team training to a minimum of 20 percent of the agency’s sworn officers (and selected non-sworn staff, such as dispatchers.)
“The Annapolis Police Department recognizes the need to enhance officer skills for effective interactions with people suffering from mental illness,” said Acting Chief Scott Baker. “Officers will learn de-escalation techniques that should aid in successful outcomes of crisis situations.”
"This is an excellent example of how our police department ensures that officers are trained and sufficiently educated to meet the needs of all of our residents," Mayor Michael Pantelides said. "This will not only help to create a safer environment if a confrontation occurs, but this program will also help create safer communities."
The Annapolis Police Department acknowledges the need to recognize and address recent societal, cultural, and technological changes that impact law enforcement responses to persons with mental illness. The strategies that the department has pledged to adopt create a unique opportunity to form a partnership with mental health organizations in the community. The committed efforts of both law enforcement agencies and the mental health community to reduce officer and civilian fatalities and injuries resulting from encounters between law enforcement officials and persons with mental illness are of critical importance. Pledging to support the One Mind Campaign is the first step towards creating a safer community for all.
For more information on the One Mind Campaign visit http://www.theiacp.org/onemindcampaign. A copy of the full report, Improving Police Response to Persons Affected by Mental Illness, links to additional resources and a list of all agencies that have taken the pledge is also available on the website.