Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Policing mental illness

A local TV station in Houston, TX recently followed police officers as they encountered people with mental illnesses. The TV station- KPRC – found that officers were well- trained in working with people with mental illnesses.

Perhaps what is most interesting and startling about the investigation, however, is that the officers used this training so often throughout the day. According to the report:

Officers encounter mentally ill people more often that you might think on the job.

Robert [KPRC reporter] tells us the department believes that at least 10 percent of all the calls an officer handles every day involves a person who is mentally ill.

That is 10 percent of each officer’s day that he or she spends as a mental healthcare provider. Perhaps its time to start providing meaningful treatment before encounters with law enforcement.

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