Should Police Accommodate People with Mental Illness in Crisis? The Supreme Court Weighs In—Kind Of

By Ron Honberg | May. 19, 2015
 

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on May 18, focused on an issue that has become all too familiar for people living with mental illness and their families. The case, City and County Of San Francisco v. Sheehan, addressed whether police officers have a legal obligation to use crisis de-escalation methods when responding to people they know to be experiencing symptoms of a serious mental illness.

Two San Francisco police officers were called to respond to a woman with mental illness who was in crisis. When they entered her bedroom, she threatened them with a bread knife and told them to leave. They retreated, called for backup, but reentered the bedroom before backup assistance arrived with the intent to subdue the woman with pepper spray. The woman charged at them with the knife and the officers shot her multiple times. Fortunately she survived.

The woman subsequently sued San Francisco and the two officers in federal court, asserting that they failed to take her known mental illness into account by responding in a manner that escalated the situation. The case reached the Supreme Court which reviewed two questions. First, does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require law enforcement officers to provide accommodations to an individual with a known mental illness who is armed and potentially violent? Second, were the officers in this case entitled to qualified immunity from liability for the injuries suffered by the woman they were responding to?

The Court ruled in favor of the City and Officers on the issue of qualified immunity, holding that they did not violate a “clearly established statutory or constitutional right” when they opened the woman’s door the second time. But, the Court dismissed the ADA question, because San Francisco, after raising this issue in its petition to the Supreme Court, did not argue it either in its brief or in oral arguments before the Court.

By not addressing this issue, the Supreme Court essentially left open the question of whether the ADA applies to police interactions with people in crisis who live with mental illness or other mental disabilities. Based on the facts in this case, it’s questionable whether the Court would have ruled that the ADA requires accommodation in this kind of situation. So, in a way, no ruling is better than one that absolves counties and police of any responsibility. It may be that the issue never need be decided—if reform of the mental health system as a whole cab be achieved,

Why This Case Matters

Police commonly respond to people with mental illness in crisis throughout the United States. Except for mental illness, a call to 911 for assistance with a medical emergency will lead to the arrival of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) trained to respond. However, if a 911 call concerns a mental health emergency, the police are usually the first sent to respond.

A number of communities have responded admirably by implementing Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programs and training officers on methods for de-escalating crises situations. However, police are still too often thrust into situations involving psychiatric emergencies without necessary training or options for working collaboratively with the mental health system. The consequences can be calamitous, including deaths or serious injuries.

For example, an investigation by the Portland (Maine) Press Herald in 2012 concluded that “at least half of the estimated 375 to 500 people shot and killed by police each year in this country have mental health problems.” In recent years, these problems appear to have worsened as mental health resources have diminished and police assumed even greater responsibility for responding to crises situations. Investigations and lawsuits initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice have revealed

disturbingly high numbers of law enforcement-initiated deaths of individuals with serious mental illness in cities such as New Orleans, Albuquerque, Portland (Oregon) and elsewhere.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court’s decision left unanswered the question of whether communities and counties are legally responsible for training police officers and other first responders on how to effectively and compassionately respond to people experiencing psychiatric crises. The fact of the matter, however, is that the challenge lies with communities to provide mental health services designed both to prevent crises and ensure that people who do experience crises are responded to compassionately and effectively.

Certainly, all communities in the U.S. should implement CIT programs and provide training on crisis de-escalation to their police officers. However, even the best trained officers can only accomplish so much without the support and partnership of the mental health system. If this week’s decision teaches us nothing else, it is that we cannot rely on the courts to determine responsibility for fixing America’s mental health crisis. That responsibility lies with legislators, county leaders, elected officials and others with authority to invest in evidence-based mental health services.

Comments
Mindy
I have called crisis line for suicidal ideation. Police are not trained,they arrested me for not obeying,threw me in jail for 8 hours because they were annoyed..This is wrong. I call for help and end up with a criminal record. Police think it's criminal to be mentally ill. They ruin lives,and there's no accountability. Never call police for a mental health issue. Mental health professionals need to respond to crisis calls. Police won't spend money to hire mental health professionals. It cost less to defend lawsuits,paid for by taxpayers. Police are militarized,Protect and Serve is Comply or Die. Police don't respect mentally ill,they treat us like sub humans. When did it become criminal to be mentally ill?
11/17/2016 5:56:28 PM

Margie
As a mother of a mentally ill son killed by police the lack of training is staggering. In US TODAY published Oct 2nd 2016 (leave out race in the subject matter my son was white and killed by a white man). The article mentioned that 3,000 of roughly 18,000 police departments have Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. Also mentioned in a survey published by The Police Executive Research Forum it found that new recruits receive eight hours on CIT training compared to 58 hours on firearms training. Another mentionable comment in the article is Cops Buddy up with mental health pros. Therefore, Mr. Policemen their are many options that can be put into place if the department you work for would do it. CIT trains you to use a tool that could be called compassion. Look up statistic's of the suffers of Mental illness effecting Americans in a given year 1 in 5. With that the case there is a very very good chance that someone close in your life such as a cousin, aunt, uncle, mother, father, son, daughter, or one of your police buddies could suffer from mental illness. To believe you are exempt from us families that have a mentally ill member is truly laughable. A question for you, would you considered a loved one of yours to be third in line? As a citizen I would expect the police to help, administer a fix no, in a crisis situation not have a bias attitude of a mentally ill person. To be a policeman believing no matter what you do you lose and not want to be a service to all citizens since that is your profession to do just that is a awful attitude to have. Could it be you are in a mental health crisis or in your own words flying off the rails. You scare me do us other people a favor and yourself take a brake or better yet find a profession to better suit you!
11/17/2016 4:16:55 PM

Mike
As a police officer, I will tell you that it is NOT the lack of training that makes it impossible to deal with the mentally ill. It is the lack of options. No amount of compassion is going going to solve the problem of a mentally ill woman coming at you with a knife. We are expected to "deal" with it in a peaceful way. It's laughable. Our duty is also to protect ourselves, as well as others. The mentally ill person is third in line. No matter what we do, we still lose. It is not our job to "fix" your mentally ill family member. Nor, is it even remotely possible. Many of you commentors are stating that you will never again call the police for your mentally ill family member, when they are flying off the rails. To that, I say "thank you".
11/8/2016 4:19:40 PM

Margie Annis
Honestly, police are first responders for crimes committed by mentally ill individuals. It should be mandatory not volunteer for all law enforcers to take CIT Training which stands for Crisis Intervention that is mandatory for a very few police departments. Police are there to protect all of us not to respond in an unprofessional manner that will escalate the situation for the mentally ill. My son due to his illness let me repeat myself due to his illness has had multiple contact with police. Many have been very professional and responded appropriately. Unfortunately it only takes one lone law enforcement individual that is not sufficiently trained to deal with someone like my son, the result is a needless death.
10/11/2016 4:56:12 PM

Scott
Honestly, the police are the ones to respond to a mental illness situation. You would generally not hire social workers as police officers because then moment comes they will likely not take necessary action. The reverse is also true, you would not want police officers to be social workers because the assertiveness that we need our officers to have does not work well in mental health crisis. This is a medical problem that should be handled by the mental health/ medical community. Have mental health social workers, firefighters and the like respond to mental health calls, not the police. The police can stand by to protect those people, but they are the ones who have the medical training needed, not police officers, they purposely serve an incompatible function in society. One other commenter also correctly noted the need to have state mental hospitals for the chronically mental ill who refuse to take medications.
10/1/2016 1:30:53 PM

Margie Annis
My son was diagnosed with psychosis about four years ago he was paranoid that anyone of authority was out to kill him. He had a crisis episode and stoled a coke truck. As reported in the news my son was driving it recklessly down the highway when an off duty detention deputy spotted him and went off the road to get around him, stopped on the side of the highway got out of his truck and stood behind it and fired into the windshield of the coke truck with his own personal gun. I do not know if my son had received an injury at the time. To make a long store short. Apparently as reported by the media there was a violent fight and my son was shot twice in the chest and died at the scene.
My son is a victim of our mental health system and the ill trained law officer. I do not know how this is all going to turn out. It is still under investigation. No one in the police department will say anything of importance to me the mother of the young man that was killed by one of their deputies. I am living in hell, my worse nightmare has come to life.
9/21/2016 5:12:01 PM

Susan Quinn
Mental illness is a responsibility of the medical community not the police. Unfortunately the police are the ones who deal with the mentally ill. They are not trained and most choose not to be trained even though it is free. Most of the police where I live are veterans of war. Police and soldiers are trained differently. Soldiers shoot first - this is what kept them alive during deployments. I do not think that mentality can disappear. Most police consider it unfair that they are care takers. For that they are mostly resentful and mean.All that said - The politicians and money hungry hospitals do not provide care and that is what we are stuck with. My son is severely mentally ill and needs permanent hospitalization. He called 911 he wanted to commit suicide and he was arrested. He was treated in jail. There was a CIT deputy over the jail. My son got as good treatment there as the local hospital, New Hanover in Wilmington . He was treated by civilian medical group. He stayed 20 days on meds. This is unusual. They did not take care of physical illnesses but he did come out alive and stable. The hospital treats and streets where I live. They cut the number of beds from 60 to 40. So who is the blame the most? I think it is the politicians. I hope all of their children become mentally ill. I am a little disappointed nami is not more vocal about long term hospitalization for the 5% who can't stay in communities. My son was put out of a community because he was too sick. Do I sound bitter? I am.
9/12/2016 5:25:14 PM

UpAgainstTheWall
Officers in southern Oregon have a clear bias against people with mental illness. I have a valid stalking order against the man who rendered me disabled. However due to their ignorance regarding PTSD, they refused to acknowledge the felony stalking violations. When my child was raped Officer Maya refused to file a report, stating he wasn't at my house to discuss crimes of a sexual nature. I begged my therapist, my child's therapists, to help me bring this rampant bias and discrimination to light. My child suffers from the trauma she underwent. At times she has been suicidal. It is hard to watch uniformed officers threaten to taste her when she walks away from them. There is a lot of change that needs to take place...and if our mayor, city manager, police chief, deputy chief cannot remove their officers that are blatantly biased against those with mental health issues then they should be the first to go. I'm tired of the fear that an ignorant officer who doesn't have enough training is going to kill me or one of my children. Enough is enough! Name procures funding for exploiting those with mental illness...it would be nice if they would step up to the plate and advocate for trained mental health professionals to accompany police for crisis intervention calls. Its bad enough they moved the mental health building right next to our police department. Guess they want to get a good look at their next trophies as we try to get treatment. FTP
9/17/2015 9:20:29 PM

Lucille
My son was shot by police when he was 24 ft away from police they killed him they should have been able to wound him I believe at that distance they could have wounded him this happened in tuscaloosa alabama august 20 2015 have any ideas what I should do I need answers
8/25/2015 5:10:58 PM

Rachel
I will never call the police again. I called 911 for help with my son. He was calm but escalating and going into a psychotic episode. No attempt was made to try to talk with him or persuade him to go to the ER. The cops beat him up and then took him to the ER. At the ER the cops told me they "might not arrest him". When I asked what they would arrest him for they said "resisting". Unbelievable! I will never call them again.
6/27/2015 11:50:50 PM

Sadie
Tony's comments are harsh & misguided. Tony, the reason families have to call the police is because the Law prevents them from forcing a child over 18 into treatment, or taking their meds. Hospitals will not admit a mentally ill person against their will unless " they are an immediate danger to themselves or others" the Families try to intervene before the situation escalates & only the police have the legal authority to take the MI person to hospital against their will, NOT the Family. No one expects the police to "babysit" as you say, but we can expect the police to show some respect & understanding & not overreact & escalate a difficult situation. Acting like Rambo to every situation creates more danger & if they can't handle calls for help by a family worried that their Mentally Ill family member is out of control they're in the wrong job. "Protect & Serve" should relate to the public but seems to relate to the Police themselves!
6/15/2015 4:13:48 PM

Steve Hobart
There are a couple of documents available on-line pertinent to the issue of ADA and how it relates to CIT. Before providing links, I would like to mention that a CIT response to a mental health crisis is not considered a Constitutional right.

A court case which has addressed the issue is Hainze v. Richards, http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-5th-circuit/1082654.html. The bottom-line is that ADA does not factor into police response to mentally ill people in crisis until the scene is "secure" with no threat to human safety.

The other link, http://txgovernmentlaw.org/Portals/0/Title%20II,%20ADA,%20and%20Law%20Enforcement%20Activities.pdf, is authored by a very successful defender of police officers and municipalities, often in Federal Court. In my opinion, the conclusions reached, especially that the applicability of the ADA to police response to people in psychiatric crises is still somewhat ill-defined.

I think that both documents will be worth reading by anyone interested in the legal aspects of this issue.
6/8/2015 2:10:58 PM

Nathan
It is most unfortunate that there is such stigma and discrimination against those who are mentally ill. Our legal system along with police training does not treat those with mental illness the same as a person who is sick and needs to be hospitalized for their wounds or injuries. There are many people who recover from their illnesses, but they remain incompetent to stand trial due to the fact that during whatever incident that occurred the person was mentally incapacitated and therefore not completely responsible for their actions. Sentencing the mentally ill or those who are retarded/semi-retarded to prison is not going to help them or our society. Granted, some people will take advantage of using a supposed mental illness in order to escape from being incarcerated; however, those that are truly mentally ill, have a diminished mental capacity like mental retardation including Alzheimer's disease should be placed in a hospital and not prison so that they can get the proper care that they require.
Unfortunately, many mentally ill patients may become aggressive or violent which might cause danger to themselves or others. This is when a "qualified" medical professional needs to step in to diffuse the situation. Police will almost always treat hostility or aggressive behavior acting in the same manner as the infirmed. They are not qualified medical professionals in order to handle these kinds of individuals or to determine if in fact the person is mentally ill. Rather than providing adequate medical care for the mentally ill in these types of situations is dealt with in an inappropriate manner leading to horrific unnecessary consequences. The mentally ill are not entitled to the same protections under the law and any one else who suffers from other diseases that may result in aggressive behavior. There exists very little medical assistance for those that are mentally ill such as counseling, monitoring, medicine and hospitalization when necessary. Even insurance companies for those who have excellent insurance coverage are treated poorly when it comes to mental illness. They are not treated the same as if the person has another life long illness.
We live in a sick society that believes if you can't see it or quantify it through blood tests, an MRI or CT Scan then it's not important enough to treat the patient adequately. PTSD runs rampant in our country and these individuals are left to fend for themselves without any care at all. This mental illness is not exclusive to just war vets, but many others who have gone through a traumatic event. It is estimated that every 20 seconds of every day a military veteran or other person with PTSD commits suicide or another type of violent act to himself or others. (I'm not positive of the time frame, but I'm sure that I'm not too off the mark.)
I have suffered from mental illness for 30 years. I was finally correctly diagnosed after 25 years with Bi-Polar II Depressive Disorder, PTSD which is now considered to be a part of the new classification for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I have been hospitalized three times and with the adjustment of my medication, I am finally able to function; however, not enough to work a full time job. Because of my mental illness I have been degraded, humiliated, called every kind of name and/or label that you can imagine since I was a child. Even with all of this I graduated high school, went to college and finished with a double major as well as a master's degree all before the age of 22. I went on to be an accomplished teacher and received many certificates of appreciation, honor for outstanding professional performance as well as a three time recipient of Who's Who Among America's Teachers. I have been one of the more fortunate ones who was able to get help and have continued on that path.
People with mental illness can live productive lives and contribute greatly to our society; however, it is unfortunate that not everyone is treated equally. Too many are ignored and discarded human beings and thrown to the wolves to fend for themselves.
I agree with the article above and Jo Ann's comments that state very simply that our government officials and Police Officers continue to ignore and refuse to help the most needy in our communities that suffer from numerous mental illnesses only to be shot dead, beaten, abused, and incarcerated. This will not change until people, our society in general wakes up and addresses the issues concerning those with mental illness.
Thank you for your time if you have read this far and I hope that it has been somewhat informative and helpful.
God Bless us all.
5/31/2015 3:47:09 PM

Heidi Chapp
Luckily, Arizona Law Enforcement are starting to reach out for training in areas concerning the approach to mental illness. I work with veterans who suffer from PTSD, BTI and Survivors Guilt. I have found when I suggest to a veteran to gain a "Veteran" notification on their drivers license which the law enforcement can see when pulling it up in their records the tone can often be more subdued and compassionate when approaching a situation.

Maybe there could be something in communities that suggest on a drivers license or identification card when someone has a history of mental illness. This could alert the dispatchers, the law enforcement who are in route or on scene prior to coming into contact with the individual.

For the calls that come in blind and the law enforcement does not know the name or address of the person that the call is coming in for training for the correct approach is so important as the wrong approach can escalate and exaggerate the situation more than realistically needed.

With our diversity in this world our first responders need to be trained in various approaches to combat what they potentially will face.

As for the scenario in the blog with the police returning into the women's room prior to the crisis team arriving makes me wonder what was going on within the scene that made them feel that it was imperative to return into the room without waiting for the crisis team- I simply can not be sure of the situation at hand without more information. We do not have all the facts here, I would like to know was the women saying that she would harm herself? If she wasn't shame on them, if perhaps she was than the police have an obligation to postpone her actions by taking action. We just don't have all the knowledge of this scene of example. But like I said, if she was just yelling at them, they should have waited. We just don't have the full story here so I would hate to assume one way or another.

I am pleased that police are reaching out to organizations like NAMI to educate their staff on other approaches to individuals who may have mental illness. It can't happen fast enough, but appreciate the attempt to gain the law enforcement's desire to better their approach to community. It goes farther that just our law enforcement, it needs to be our first responders as a whole, teachers, religious leaders and other community members so that we can support those who do not have the abilities to identify their own mental illness or health.
5/31/2015 4:51:08 AM

Tony
The responsibility lies with the individual and their families. We cannot expect the police to be the perfect babysitter for each and every different situation. Police are human who have stress, mental illness, prejudice, etc. to want "superman" is unrealistic. Patients be warned: take your medication.
5/30/2015 6:12:40 PM

Donna Newsom
My son was recently incarcerated for an unpaid traffic ticket from 2008. He was held in jail and when he asked to be allowed to take his medications with him when being arrested, he was laughed at.
5/30/2015 1:45:07 PM

Andrew Balo
I am diagnosed mentally ill and have had several confrontations with police. They don't seem to understand-it is like a different language-mental health and police officers can't communicate effectively. It leads to incarceration, hardship and a brutally cold outcome with those untrained professionals who step in to solve a legal problem. I stay away from the police as much as I can from past 911 phone calls and interaction with them, even if I am in a life threatening environment or situation. In San Diego, we have PERT which represents psychiatric emergency response team and my experience of them has been decent. Most officers put me in the ER from my situations that are all too frequent, but in addressing the issue time mental health awareness will increase as it is known by the majority.
5/29/2015 10:59:23 PM

Cynthia
I found out about the FAST program thru the family to family class. At the time there was no need for their services. But a few years ago my daughter was locked up and I contacted them so she wouldn't get lost in jail and would get the help she needed. In Baltimore there is an mental health court which is excellent. They try help by getting everyone in a program, taking their meds and helping them with learn how to function on a daily routine. My daughter is off probation, not taking her meds everyday like she should but does seem to be learning how to manage her illness and have a good life.
5/29/2015 8:57:30 AM

LouAnn
absolutely this should be used in every situation. Truth be known there is probably an issue with mental wellness in almost every situation.
5/28/2015 2:58:13 PM

William McGee Jr
Here in San Antonio, Texas our police officers have teamed up with Universal Health Services in receiving training to include having a DMOC team available when possible to assist them in insuring that any persons suffering from a mental disorder is talked to as a person before any physical restraints are used. Only when the individual is not being compliant with them will they use force to subdue them to insure that they are no threat to themselves and their neighbors as well. I am a parent of a 35 year male who has been of a myriad of meds and have had to call for assistance from police officers numerous times. Today the majority of the officers here in San Antonio Texas are trained to assist any mental problems that arises. This issue is one that city and state level government should pursue at all costs. The major problem that is being faced by many other cities is that parent or caretakers of adult children have no input on the types of treatment necessary for their adult child. Pills are only good when the patent is will to take them. Injection are the best to alleviate them missing their meds or getting off their meds. Those hospitals that provide these patients with their meds and doctors visits need to have more staff available to them so that law enforcement will be the last resort when dealing with mental patients or mental resident of any city.
5/28/2015 11:33:39 AM

Donna Clifford
Thank you
5/28/2015 12:06:14 AM

Donna Clifford
my grandson age 34 has been diagnosed as schitzoaffective - in the past 10 years it has been necessary to call sheriff deputies to the home on numerous occasions because of his episodes - all of these times there have no less than three deputies and usually more arrive. The problems are always due to the fact that he does not take his medications properly. If he see them or know that they have been called he runs and hides. One way that they handled the situation was to tackle him another time they brought dogs out to search for him - all this is heartbreaking for me to watch. When we call we ask for a CIT officer but have been asked what is a CIT Officer - also when the deputies have arrived they did not know what a CIT Officer was - we are informed by the officers that they cannot keep coming out to solve problems for us - at the present time I can tell that he is having delusions and needs help getting back on his MEDS - he stays up all night talking all kinds of nonsense - because of past experiences we know that he is getting hardened toward law enforcement - I have Baker Acted three times which is forthcoming - each time he seems to become more bitter and of course with the law being on his side because of his age we have no control overseeing his Meds - he has gone to jail for violating the "no contact" and then not fulfilling his probation obligations. As I see it those with this kind of problem has no reasoning senses and need to want to learn to live with and accept their illness. They are confused and experience so much rejection that they eventually "snap" - I wonder by observing within my own family and community the stigma that surrounds them how can we expect them to cope in what is considered this "normal" world?
5/28/2015 12:04:57 AM

Cosette
Orleans Parish Prison - New Orleans, La.
"People with mental illness are not brought to the hospital anymore in Orleans Parish, they bring them straight to jail, we see it every day, we have no place to put them but Tent City and the general population" (Orleans Parish Prison representative April 2015).
5/28/2015 12:03:21 AM

Douglas McPhaden
The United States government is currently providing assets which are no longer needed to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan to police departments . It would be very nice if some organization like NAMI lobbied a powerful legislator to make acceptance of these assets conditional on the Police Department support of CIT programs that address specific mental health related issues.
5/27/2015 11:13:09 PM

Karen Bourque
I was watching an episode of the show 'Cops' recently. Police had responded to an address where a woman was upset and was threatening to shoot herself. 5 police responded. No one made any attempt to calm her or talk her down. The women went into her house and I counted 5 shots. The next scene showed the woman lying on the floor of her home. One eye was gone, she had been shot in the head and she kept asking, "Why did you shoot me? I put the gun down." "Why did you shoot me? I put the gun down." I wonder how cops would deal with someone threatening to jump off a bridge? Shoot them first? What happened to shoot to wound? What happened to talking, sympathizing, negotiating with an upset person? When did our police decide that killing first was the way to deal with distraught people? That episode of 'Cops' made me sick and scared.
5/27/2015 10:27:14 PM

Roger
There is a bill that Representative Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania is sponsoring in Congress HR 3717. Google it: Help for Families in Crisis with Mental Illness. Go to Rep.Murphy's website, read it and encourage all your state and federal officials to support it
5/27/2015 10:16:06 PM

Roger
Couldn't agree more. CIT training should be required for every County. We had to have our daughter (38) picked up and taken to ER and it went well, the two officers handled it ok but she fortunately was not combative nor questioning. This is the second time we had to do this, first time she was tazed for reaching out her hand asking the officer to see who had signed the Detention Order. She was not loud nor aggressive. The officer had a look of terror on his face. He was totally not prepared for this task. It is IMPERATIVE for officers to have CIT trying, benefiting both our loved ones and themselves. A sheriffs office is doing themselves a disservice when this is not a Requirement. NAMI does this free as a community service.
Also, if you need help with legal advice, try your State or Federal Senators Office. I live in SC and have had great response for Former Senator Jim Demints office for the pervious needs and most recently we received prompt response from Senator Tim Scotts Office. This is not only available to us but it helps keep them aware how disparate our loved ones are.
5/27/2015 10:11:05 PM

Carrie White
I called 911 for assistance getting my Son to the Hospitall per the direction of his Doctor. Police arrived and arrested him and charged him with damage to my property! He was not taken for the holo spiral for three days while not having any medication. This is why the system needs attention. This was a horrible and devastating experience for him and his concerned Family.
5/27/2015 9:59:11 PM

Mary Lou Brncik
David's Hope in Arizona is a non profit organization dedicated to reducing incarceration of those with mental disorders and addictions through prevention, intervention and treatment. We of course promote CIT but here in many areas of AZ CIT has been ineffective due to the low numbers who are trained and low percentage of CIT trained officers on the beat at any given time. We promote the use of body cameras on all officers at all times as the best method of reform available today. Officers should treat all people with dignity and of course caution whether the person they are responding to has a mental illness or not. Cameras will be the best protection that both our officers and the public will ever have.
5/27/2015 9:23:02 PM

Lindsay
Police should not respond by themselves to people with mental illness . They are not qualified and generally do harm to people. Laws need to be placed to protect the mentally ill. Catastrophes could be controlled and prevented for all mankind.
5/27/2015 9:14:19 PM

Dianne Wilson
I have seen my adult son go from being calm in the ER while the CIT officer who calmed him down during a psychotic episode in our home and stayed calm while the officer was there. When the security guard took over he, the officer was really stiff with an aggressive posture. My son became very agitated and had to be sedated and restrained with leather restraights. Then I had to watch him through a window to be sure his head was in a safe position to not block his airway. Every person who has this type of contact with people who have a mental illness should have CIT training.
5/27/2015 9:06:02 PM

Maria D. Hernandez
Of course there should be accommodations for people with a mental illness. It is an illness, which like any other illness may require require accommodations. Police training should include a topic on mental illness. Also, should people claim " mental illness" of any sort while they are getting arrested, etc. and they really don't have this illness, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of a new "law" for taking advantage of the system for their own sake.
5/27/2015 8:43:04 PM

Sadie
I believe the Justice system in America which criminalizes the Mentally ill is a much bigger issue than 'Stigma'. The Jails have become the "Fix" for Mental Health with over 45% of inmates who are Mentally ill incarcerated because our Laws are Draconian, outdated. The legal gauge of "Knowing right from wrong" is irrelevant when someone is generally Psychotic. If the Mentally Ill person is lucky enough to escape being incarcerated, they will likely have a criminal record, making it difficult to obtain work & some social services. I hold the Medical Profession, the Legal Profession (don't you people have powerful organizations & lobbyists) & useless Politicians accountable for not addressing the issue or finding a better resolution.
5/27/2015 8:35:04 PM

Shedrick Gavin
I think about both of these questions all the time. Why? My obsession over them is very complicated, and I'm not not an attorney or a certified peer specialist (CPS); my opinion is self centered, unless my diagnosis changes to narcissism on account of my admissions. In a nutshell, I do think that the police have a moral obligation to "provide accommodations" because due process would not have been formerly applied in denying her her second amendment right, unless otherwise noted; when I was homeless a police officer, admitting to having bipolar, nearly went bersek on me; not to mention, veterans often become police officers soon after active service with little or no mental health treatment. Furthermore, some additional fact finding is needed for a more definitive response. How are you defining "known." Is she legally insane or is it a hearsay diagnosis (maybe a past lover). The second question is a lot harder to answer. I also think there is another underlying question. Should bad police be held accountable for their behavioral? I don't have an answer to this question.
5/27/2015 8:24:44 PM

Donald Turnbaugh
The TEAM in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is a Community Partnership of Law Enforcement, Mental Health Professionals and Advocates (Family Members & Consumrres) working together within the system and resources they have locally. Good things happen when the TEAM works together.
5/26/2015 6:13:47 PM

Jo Ann
My son committal was changed to inpatient with a hearing 8:30 am Monday. The sherriff did not get him to the hospital until Monday afternoon. Our son walked out of the room to the hall in the ER because he thought the papers were void and not valid because the date of his hearding passed. The sherriff got very aggressive with him pushing him in the hall and into the room and put him in a head lock (our son slipped out of) and the officer grabbed him from behind. Our son had his arms in the air the whole time and told the officer he would sit on the couch. The officer continued to push him and the officer leg tripped on a chair and he fell backwards pulling our son on top of him. The officer head hit the floor causing a large laceration, he may have had a seizure, and it knocked him out. He was admitted overnight for observation and released. They took our son to jail and he is being charged with interference of an office act and injury to a officer. They did move him to the psych ward the next day and he stayed in 4 days to get him back on his meds and has been doing well. We have seen the tape of what happened in the ER and the officer is very aggressive pushing him around. The county attorney and sherriff are pushing the charges because they think he was competent. This is likely going to a jury trial and we will need his psychiatrist to testify for him. I hate this for our son because he needed help and I contacted his doctor's nurse who decided to pull the outpatient commital. Our son is not aggressive just when he is off his meds he gets something in his head and goes on about it and it take alot of patience and talking to him to make his see a different point of view but he is never aggressive or fights. I am finding similar situations with other mental patients. Law officers needs CIT training or they need a team trained in CIT to assist them. Our son is on a small SSDI check and does not have the money to fight this in court and a court appointed attorney would not give the case the attention it needs luckily we can help him by hiring an attorney.
5/26/2015 1:10:20 PM

Ben Wheatley
In Kansas City MO, I was recently a witness of a 'safety check' on a woman who was known to have paranoid delusions. By the time they were through, there were at least 6 police officers present, being very assertive, aggressive, and confrontational.
Their approach appeared almost deliberately calculated to upset her.
5/22/2015 4:37:54 PM

Kyle Lloyd
Their answer is - you cannot take a stand while you sit on the bench. . .
5/22/2015 9:01:54 AM

Bridget
CIT programs are needed everywhere.
5/21/2015 9:11:41 PM

John
Do you have a local referral for a lawyer who represents clients on SSI and EDD, bound to be homeless on 1st diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder since 2007?
Contact Jack @ (925) 984-0607.
Thank you for your assistance in wellness and your commitment to Mental Health Awareness Always.
5/21/2015 5:01:55 PM

Zanita
thank you for the informative update
5/20/2015 5:45:51 PM

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