On Monday, March 6, 2017, a new policy was set in place by Chief U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. in Cleveland, Ohio. These policies are designed to guide officers on how to deal with people suffering from mental illness and mental health crisis situations.
These new policies will contain several changes that have already taken place but were never memorialized in writing, official’s said. While giving officers some flexibility, these policies will lay out clear instructions officers will use when dealing with a mental health crisis.
The intention of these new policies is to help direct people suffering from mental illness from jail time and towards treatment. In some cases, officers with specialized training will be allowed to relocate the individuals to treatment centers and/or hospitals instead of arresting these individuals for minor crimes. Cleveland PD will also be attempting to minimize the use-of-force during the officers’ confrontation with the suspects with mental illness. It also adjusts how dispatchers call out officers to handle with the mentally ill and will help give guidance on involuntary hospitalization and transportation of these individuals.
Chief U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr.’s order says the new crisis intervention policies make clear “that specially-trained officers will ‘have appropriate discretion to direct individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues to the health care system’ and must be dispatched, when available, to all incidents that appear to involve an individual in crisis.”.
The new policies will mandate the creation of a new Crisis Intervention Team which will be made up of specially-trained officers. Chief U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr.’s validation of the new Crisis Intervention policies starts by training all of the officers on the new policy. Every officer will receive 8 hours of crisis intervention by late summer of 2017. Officers will also be given 16 hours of use-of-force training by late summer of 2017. These policies will go into effect on January 1st.