Mental Health Advisory Committee Discusses Police Training, Community Involvement

Mental Health Response Advisory Committee meeting (photo: Elizabeth Miller)
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By Elizabeth Miller

By January, the new Mental Health Response Advisory Committee will present a report to the Cleveland Police Department with recommendations for how law enforcement can better serve people with mental health issues.  The group was formed as a result of the police reform agreement between Cleveland and the U-S Department of Justice.

There are five subcommittees working on collecting data, improving police training, and analyzing law enforcement policies for handling cases of mental health crises.  The community engagement committee aims to create a better relationship between citizens and police, and help the community understand what police do day-to-day.  Erica Robinson is co-chair of that committee, and she says police attendance at community meetings has been constant.  "The police, well they’re actually coming out to the meetings because they’re concerned," said Robinson.

"So anytime someone comes out to give their input, that means that they’re really concerned and they want to see a change.  So I think as long as we have the police on our side, we’re going to see a change.”

The Advisory Committee today also introduced Lieutenant Jim Purcell as the first Crisis Intervention Coordinator.  He’ll be responsible for implementing the group’s recommendations.  The position was created in the Consent Decree as a liaison between the police department and the mental health community. 

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