DETROIT — The program designed to help police officers respond to mental health calls has expanded to another Detroit police precinct.
The crisis intervention team officers are trained to identify people who may need help and connect them with mental health support.
“The crisis intervention team is part of the mental health co-response pilot program,” Chief James White said. “Our city issues include crisis intervention trained officers, mental health specialists that will work together to respond to mental health consumers.”
The Seventh Precinct is the sixth police precinct in Detroit to launch the program.
“I can’t tell you exactly how many mental health runs we have on a daily basis,” Seventh Precinct Capt. Conway Petty said. “This is huge for the city, for the police department.”
Officer Charlie Walker, who just completed the training, said that this is a big step for the city.
“I’m excited to start doing what we need to do as far as our community, especially in our precinct area,” Walker said. “We have a large community of mental health illnesses in our area.”
White said that the number of contacts officers have with those in need shows how important the program is for Detroit.
“The Ninth Precinct has had 2,581 contacts,” he said. “12th Precinct, since June of 2021, has had 601 contacts, 252 are self-initiated.”
Self initiating contact is when an officer is on patrol and identifies a person in need of assistance.
The department said it believes the program benefits all parties involved.
“Mental health-trained officers for our community adds a layer of safety,” White said. “Not only for the community, the mental health consumer, but officers as well.”