Mental Health Issues Facing Law Enforcement
Much of the research refers to mentally ill persons as consumers, so that is what they will be referred to as in this paper. Currently, many law enforcement agencies use crisis intervention teams to respond to calls for service involving consumers. Kerle (2015) stated that crisis intervention teams are a valuable tool for helping move consumers away from the criminal justice system and delivering them to mental health workers. Kerle (2015) expressed that the goal of their program was to teach law enforcement officers methods designed to reduce use of force when dealing with mentally ill persons. Crisis intervention teams have now spread across the country. These teams have been the way police have adjusted to dealing with consumers since the deinstitutionalizing of mental illness. Police across the United States are typically the first called to deal with mental health issues when things get out of control. Crisis intervention teams are a good resource, but, at times, their response to a scene may be delayed. To combat this delay and provide help to those consumers in need, police officers must be trained to handle situations involving consumers. To accomplish this goal, each officer should be trained in the same manner, thus ensuring that any call for service involving mentally ill persons will have people respond with proper training. Each officer should be required to attend a mandatory 40-hour mental health course during their academy training.