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States Push for Mental Health Training for Police Officers Amid Outcry

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Following several cases where individuals with mental health conditions died in police custody, politicians in eight states have introduced legislation that will change how law enforcement handles those undergoing a crisis.

What We Know:

  • In California, officials proposed requiring prospective officers to complete college courses on psychology and mental health. Similarly, New York officials put forth a measure that would mandate officers to complete a 32-hour course that would include de-escalation training, according to AP.
  • The measure follows an incident in March where police killed 41-year old Daniel Prude in Rochester. Prude was undergoing a crisis when officers placed a spit hood over him and pressed his body to the ground until he stopped breathing.
  • A similar incident occurred with Angelo Quinto, a Navy veteran from California. Quinto was experiencing a mental health episode when his family called officers to their home. Upon arriving, officers restrained Quinto and kneeled upon his neck while Quinto pleaded with officers not to kill him. The man died in a hospital three days later.
  • In both cases, family members called the police to deal with a crisis when they were not adequately qualified to do so. The proposed legislation aims to increase the training level of officers, but 34 states already mandate officers to get some form of mental health training.
  • To that end, new programs have been proposed where an expert can accompany officers on mental health cases. Elizabeth Sinclair Hancq of the Treatment Advocacy Center noted that “The solution that would have the most impact on the problem is to prevent people with mental illness from encountering law enforcement in the first place.”

The efforts to change how officers interact with people with mental health conditions are part of the larger movement to reform police departments. The initiatives hope to avoid more tragic incidents of citizens being wrongfully killed by law enforcement.

The post States Push for Mental Health Training for Police Officers Amid Outcry appeared first on Black News Alerts.

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