ICARE Justice Moment:
Don’t arrest someone over a mental breakdown
Police officers are typically the first responders to incidents involving people with mental illness, and too often it doesn’t end well. JSO has told us the only two possible responses are: to arrest the person or to Baker Act (institutionalize) them. This is unacceptable.
For several years ICARE has been asking JSO to make changes to their mental crisis training practices, and JSO has resisted. So now, ICARE will re-examine the issue. We hope to identify another approach—one that JSO is willing to consider.
ICARE is studying these programs, used in other communities:
- Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) – Police, courts and mental health professionals and advocates team up to help people in crisis.
- Co-Responder Program – A mental health specialist responds with police officers on mental health calls.
- Mobile Response Team – A team of mental health specialists respond to someone in a mental health crisis. No police officers are involved.
- Community Responders – A team of unarmed, trained civilians – often those with a “lived experience” of having themselves, or a family member or friend, been mentally ill – respond to mental health calls.
Stay tuned to find out which solution the ICARE Research team pursues. And then, attend ICARE’s Nehemiah Assembly on April 17th, at 6:45 p.m. where we’ll ask city leaders to treat people with mental illness with the dignity, respect and compassion they deserve.
Want to learn more? Everyone is invited to “A Different Kind of Force – Policing Mental Illness,” a documentary being shown after church on March 5th in the Forrest Church Room.