March 23, 2005

Police Internet Training Program

The Los Angeles Police Dept will train 9,100 officers with an internet program designed to help defuse, rather than escalate, situations involving mentally ill offenders. The training will include the common symptoms of mental illnesses, and how to cope with people who have them.

Training police to deal more effectively with the mentally ill, who they deal with every day on the streets and in prisons, may be a growing, positive trend. The LAPD training program follows the footsteps of police departments in New York, Seattle, Memphis, and Portland. Special "mental health courts" are also part of this trend; now in several locations across the country, their goal is to legislate appropriate treatment and support programs for mentally ill offenders, with an eye on recovery rather than just punishment.

With the proportion of mentally ill inmates in the United States now hovering around 1 in 6, programs to help the justice system deal effectively and fairly with the mentally ill is a hopeful and welcome step. The mental health courts have already shown early, promising results from their first cases.

Source: "Cops seek sensitivity about mental illness." Los Angeles Daily News, March 20 2005. Available at

Read previous news reports about Mental Health Courts


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