Police Commissioner Proposes Teaming Officers with Mental Health Professionals

During a briefing with the Baltimore City Delegation, Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts discussed a proposal to pair law enforcement officers with mental health professionals to respond to certain emergency calls. As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

Batts wants to form 18 teams made up of one police officer and one mental health professional who would respond to emergency calls where mental illness is suspected. He said such teams could make a big difference in dealing with people who are homeless, suicidal or have mental health problems.

The teams would be split among the city’s nine police districts, with half working day shifts and the others on night shifts, Batts said.

The commissioner told the delegation that a similar program has been place for 12 to 15 years in Long Beach, Calif., where he used to work.

State Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, a Democrat whose district straddles the city-county line, has introduced a bill that would require that city and Baltimore County police establish such programs by June 1, 2016, though it does not include funding.

The commissioner discussed other department developments during the briefing including police district lines and a pilot body camera program.

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun.