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The Evolution of Police Interactions with People with Mental Health Problems: The Third Generation (Strategic) Approach

The Evolution of Police Interactions with People with Mental Health Problems: The Third Generation (Strategic) Approach
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Author(s): Dorothy Cotton (PMHL Solutions, Canada) and Terry G. Coleman (PMHL Solutions, Canada)
Copyright: 2017
Pages: 22
Source title: Police Psychology and Its Growing Impact on Modern Law Enforcement
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Cary L. Mitchell (Pepperdine University, USA) and Edrick H. Dorian (Los Angeles Police Department, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0813-7.ch013

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Abstract

As early as the 1970s, some police agencies began to develop education and training initiatives as well as specialized response initiatives to assist police in responding to calls for service involving people with mental health problems. Various versions of Memphis's Crisis Intervention Team program as well as various co-response models have become increasingly common. However, the effectiveness of these often stand-alone programs remains unclear. What has become clear is that police agencies require a strategic approach to interactions between police and vulnerable populations including those with mental health problems. This chapter, which provides an overview of the evolution of these specialized police responses, proposes that there is a need for a more comprehensive third generation approach—a strategic approach—rather than solely a “program” approach. Identification is made of specific areas in which the unique skills of psychologists are important in furthering the success of the necessary strategic approach.

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