Properly Policing Mentally Ill Individuals




Rollins, Landon N.

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



Interactions with law enforcement officers and individuals with mental health issues is growing and impacting the ability of agencies to effectively respond to this expanding need. Full-time Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) should be implemented in police departments to address this concern. The magnitude of this growing crisis and its impact on agency resources and staffing makes this a current and relevant issue. Full-time dedicated units enable CIT-trained officers to handle specified calls for service regarding mental health concerns while freeing up other officers to focus on their respective assignments. Full-time CIT integrates stakeholders with social services and police enforcement efforts. Full-time units enable departments to handle departmental training through a streamlined approach with the department’s CIT subject matter experts. Counter arguments are discussed regarding the effectiveness and ability for smaller departments to consider CIT-related programs. Recommendations for task responsibilities for full-time CIT units are discussed. These recommendations would benefit the case load management of mental health related calls for service such as conducting follow-ups and monitoring violent individuals and hazardous locations. Police departments that dedicate full-time units for CIT-trained officers will be better equipped to handle this growing issue.


Mentally Ill Offenders, Crisis Intervention