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SPD completes pledge to improve how officers respond to community mental illness

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Police Department announced Wednesday its completion of a pledge to help improve how the department responds to community members dealing with mental illness. 

The pledge is part of an initiative called the One Mind Campaign, which requires law enforcement agencies to implement practices in a 12-36 month period. 

As part of those practices, each officer with the Spokane Police Department is required to complete a 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), which teaches officers the best techniques for de-escalating situations. 

In addition, officers also participate in an Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team Training (ECIT) excercise, which prepares them with communication skills to handle any possible situation. 

In a release, SPD announced that, currently, 22 officers have completed the ECIT training, along with most of the senior staff. 

The department collaborates with Frontier Behavioral Health and, in July 2018, formed its Community Diversion Unit, which pairs mental health professionals with police when respondng to people in the community who are suffering from a mental health crisis. 

The Spokane Police Department is also involved in the Behavioral Health Steering Commitee, which meets with behavioral health stakeholders, department of corrections, local hospitals, children services, and other representatives to provide an open platform of communication for how to better handle mental health in the community.  

“It is estimated that one in 10 people suffering from a mental health condition will have some form of police involvement in their pathway to mental healthcare," said Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl.

“This recognition and membership to IACP’s One Mind Campaign confirms that we continue to follow national best practices in our efforts to properly address the growing needs of those suffering from mental health issues.” 

To learn more about the One Mind Campain, click HERE.


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