Responding to Persons Affected by Mental Illness or in Crisis

It is the purpose of this policy to provide guidance to law enforcement officers when responding to or encountering situations involving persons displaying behaviors consistent with mental illness or crisis.

Responding to situations involving individuals who officers reasonably believe to be affected by mental illness or in crisis carries potential for violence; requires an officer to make difficult judgments about the mental state and intent of the individual; and necessitates the use of special police skills, techniques, and abilities to effectively and appropriately resolve the situation, while avoiding unnecessary violence and potential civil liability. The goal shall be to de-escalate the situation safely for all individuals involved when reasonable, practical, and consistent with established safety priorities. In the context of enforcement and related activities, officers shall be guided by this state’s law regarding the detention of persons affected by mental illness or in crises. Officers shall use this policy to assist them in determining whether a person’s behavior is indicative of mental illness or crisis and to provide guidance, techniques, and resources so that the situation may be resolved in as constructive and humane a manner as possible.

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