Policing Mental Health Unit Proposal


Write a proposal to create a mental health unit in a law enforcement unit. The unit is located in a local police department.Your proposal will:
?Identify a need.
?Include organizational management, administration, and operational aspects of the unit.
?Discuss laws that may help or hinder the unit’s work and how the unit will manage those laws.
?Discuss staffing and costs.

Sample paper

Policing Mental Health Unit Proposal

Identify a need.

Today, in any police department, there is the need for a mental health unit that will be tasked with aiding the police officers to manage cases that are related to the mental health crisis of offenders they come into contact. According to Cordner (2006), data has suggested that about 10% of all the contact the police make with the public, individuals with severe mental illnesses are involved. (Deane, Steadman, Borum, Veysey, & Morrissey, 1999) The fact that this data is over a decade old, it is a good pointer towards the need for a well-integrated health unit.

Considering the most recent studies, it is estimated that in the US prisons, the prevalence of serious mental illnesses is at 14.5 % for males and about 31% for females. (Steadman, Osher, Robbins, Case, & Samuels, 2009) Therefore, large to the medium Department should develop a mental health correspondent teams which should work in conjunction with the local department of mental health with its essence being to help the mentally ill persons through the provision of treatment. The creation of a crisis intervention team (CIT) model which is designed to improve the police officer’s ability to intervene safely, link individuals to mental health services and divert them from the criminal justice system when appropriate is the best approach. (Compton, Esterberg, McGee, Kotwicki, & Oliva, 2006)

Include organizational management, administration, and operational aspects of the unit.

The unit would be made of a select group of Police officers who voluntarily sign up to being CIT officers. It would then involve bringing about change within the police department procedures and also collaborate with the mental health providers as well as other stakeholders in the community. The volunteer officers will then undergo a 40-hour CIT training. In this case, the CIT program should be planned based on the needs of the jurisdiction and local realities. However, CIT programs that are a result of local realities may prevent full model implementation/operation.

Discuss laws that may help or hinder the unit’s work and how the unit will manage those laws.

A survey undertaken focusing on CIT programs found that only about 30 percent of the local departments that have adopted this program have formal agreements for emergency transport or emergency psychiatric evaluation with the receiving facilities. However, some informal arrangements have been put in place and are working. Therefore, in this case, policies within the local government that hinder formal agreements between the police department and the receiving facilities (mental health departments) should be lifted or revised to allow smooth collaboration of the departments.

In other instances, the police department may go all the way to implement the 40-hour CIT training curriculum but fail to incorporate the other providers or even the local psychiatric emergency services in the collaboration. As a result, this leads to the demoralization of the CIT trained police officers thus limiting the success of the program. (Amy & Anjali, 2012)

Discuss staffing and costs.

The staff would be made up of about two full-time mental health providers, one a therapeutic specialist (Mental Health Professional) with expertise in resources and services available to assist persons with mental health disorders, including those with drug abuse symptoms and the other one a Designated Mental Health Professional with authority from the local government to petition for involuntary treatment detentions.  These two officers would work with the police officers in the unit. This would cost approximately $200, 000 annually.  The police officers are volunteers hence they will not increase the costs. On the other hand, lease and operating expense for one vehicle for the mental health professionals would cost around $25 000 per year.



Amy, C. W., & Anjali, J. F. (2012). The Crisis Intervention Team Model of Police Response to Mental Health Crises: A Primer for Mental Health Practitioners. Best Practices in Mental Health, 71.

Compton, M. T., Esterberg, M. L., McGee, R., Kotwicki, R. J., & Oliva, J. R. (2006). Crisis intervention team training: Changes in Knowledge, attitudes, and stigma related to Schizophrenia. Psychiatric Services, 1199-1202.

Cordner, G. (2006). Office of Community Oriented Policing Series, U.S. Department of Justice. People with Mental Illness. Problem Specific Guides Series. Retrieved 11 6, 2016, from http://www.popcenter.org/problems/PDFs/MentalIllness.pdf

Deane, M. W., Steadman, H. J., Borum, R., Veysey, B., & Morrissey, J. (1999). Emerging Partnerships between mental health and law enforcement. Psychiatric Services, 50(1), 99-101.

Steadman, H. J., Osher, F. C., Robbins, P. C., Case , B., & Samuels, S. (2009). Prevalence of Serious Mental Illness among Jail Inmates. Psychiatric Services, 60(6), 761-765. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.60.6.761


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