A Framework for Implementing Effective Law Enforcement Responses for People Who Have Mental Health Needs
Bureau of Justice Assistance U.S. Department of Justice
Law enforcement agencies across the country are being challenged by a growing number of calls for service involving people who have mental health needs. Increasingly, officers are called on to be the first—and often the only—responders to calls involving people experiencing a mental health crisis. These calls can be among the most complex and time-consuming for officers to resolve, redirecting them from addressing other public safety concerns and violent crime. They can also draw intense public scrutiny and can be potentially dangerous for officers and people who have mental health needs. When these calls come into 911/ dispatch, the appropriate community based resources are often lacking to make referrals, and more understanding is needed to relay accurate information to officers. As such, there is increasing urgency to ensure that officers and 911 dispatchers have the training, tools, and support to safely connect people to needed mental health services.