Publication Date

Spring 5-2018

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Department

Public Administration

First Advisor

Frances Edwards

Abstract

Police officers respond to a variety of calls for service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including mental-health related emergencies. With deinstitutionalization of individuals with severe mental illness, officers are often the first to be called to contact these individuals when they are in crisis (DeCuir, Lamb & Weinberger, 2002). Yet, few law enforcement officers have adequate training to manage interactions with people in mental health crisis. Officers perceive mental health related calls as very unpredictable and dangerous, which without adequate training in de-escalation, could inadvertently cause them to approach in a manner which escalates the situation (Fulambarker & Watson, 2012).

The City of Watsonville has offered the Crisis Intervention Training (CIBHS, 2015) and developed a partnership with Santa Cruz County Mental Health Department to improve their response to these individuals. This research is built on the question, “What are police agencies doing to assist their officers when responding to calls for service that involve individuals with a mental health condition?” This research will conduct a process evaluation of what the Watsonville Police Department is providing to assist its officers when responding to these types of calls for service. The research will focus on the newest training provided and evaluate the efficiency of the newly implemented program known as the Crisis Assessment Respond Engagement Team (C.A.R.E.).

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