Police Approaches That Improve the Response to People with Mental Illnesses: A Focus on Victims

Police officers routinely provide the first line of crisis response for situations involving persons with mental illnesses. These calls for service are common (they constitute between seven and 10 percent of all police contacts). But they pose operational problems for officers and managers and can significantly alter the lives of persons with mental illnesses and their families.1 Specifically, these encounters challenge police agencies for three critical reasons: