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Advocacy Spotlight: New Council of State Governments Report: The Essential Elements of a Specialized Law Enforcement-Based Program

This month, the Council of State Government’s Justice Center, in partnership with the Police Executive Research Forum, released its new report, "Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses: The Essential Elements of a Specialized Law Enforcement-Based Program." The report is intended to serve as a guide for communities planning to implement law-enforcement-based responses to people with mental illness in crisis, including CIT.

Identifying ten components of a successful law enforcement response, the report emphasizes partnerships between stakeholders in planning and implementation. The report also highlights some of the steps that must be taken to ensure a program’s long term sustainability, including law enforcement agency policies, program evaluation, and expanded mental health treatment options. Finally, the report addresses the operational components of a law enforcement-based response, including specialized training, dispatcher protocols, transfer of custody and information exchange.

The report was supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. For more information about this and other resources in the Council of State Government Justice Center’s Improving Policy Responses to People with Mental Illnesses series, visit theCriminal Justice/ Mental Health Consensus Project website.