Introduction In addition, through training, develop the skill

IntroductionToday animportant and intersecting area of the criminal justice system and healthpolicy is how to better handle a person in mental crisis who becomes integratedin the criminal justice system.  Peoplewho are experiencing a mental health crisis are more likely to encounter policefirst because of their first responder status.

 When the fact is, they are in immediate need of medical assistance,according to the (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2015).  Within the criminal justice system,approximately sixty-four (64) percent of prison inmates are subjected to some formof mental health challenge (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2014).  Over the years, the law enforcement communityhas struggled responding to these needs due to the absence of the specializedtraining.

  Law Enforcement agencies areconstantly enhancing policies to improve the initial interactions withindividuals who have behavioral health needs. Significant efforts by state legislatures have been focused on additionaltraining for the police when dealing with people who have behavioral needs andare in crisis.  One of the mainobjectives in training the law enforcement community, is to be able to recognizethe many symptoms of mental illnesses. In addition, through training, developthe skill set needed to effectively engage with someone in crisis anddeescalate the incident.  The fact that acaregiver is hesitant to dial 911 when seeking assistance with a person incrisis, speaks volumes.  The fear thatthe situation may escalate to needless danger for both the police and thedevelopmentally disabled is a strong indication of needed training for the lawenforcement professionals.

Research shows that a gap in training and socialinteraction places the law enforcement community at a disadvantage wheninteracting with the mentally ill.  This gapincludes whether police officers know someone with a mental illness in theirprivate lives, helps determine how 

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