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DUNWOODY — The Dunwoody Police Department has partnered with the One Mind Campaign to provide training and tools to officers when dealing with people who suffer from mental illness. Below is a news release from the police department outlining the program.
The Dunwoody Police Department is pleased to announce that we have completed a pledge we took to improve our response to those suffering from mental illness in the community. The pledge is part of an initiative called the One Mind Campaign started by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), a 30,000 member professional association for law enforcement that provides training, technical assistance, and recruitment services. To join the One Mind Campaign, law enforcement agencies must pledge to implement four promising practices in a 12-36 month period to ensure successful future interactions between police officers and persons with mental illness.
In the law enforcement community, mental illness has become a common focus, with some departments estimating that as many as 20% of their calls for service involve mental health. Chief Grogan made the decision to join the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s One Mind Campaign because the training received as a result of our pledge is another tool in our staff’s toolbelt, which will help them achieve more positive outcomes with those experiencing a mental health crisis.
In completing the One Mind Pledge, the Dunwoody Police Department established a sustainable partnership with a local mental health organization, developed and implemented a model policy to address officers’ interactions with those affected by mental illness, and ensured that all of our officers received some type of mental health awareness training, with at least twenty percent of the department completing the more intensive Crisis Intervention Training. In fact, over fifty percent of our staff have received the Crisis Intervention Training. The 40-hour Crisis Intervention curriculum is designed by local agencies to train a team of specialized officers to respond to calls that involve individuals with mental health disorders or intellectual disability. The curriculum includes education on various de-escalation techniques as well as live role-play scenarios of officers responding to persons who need mental health assistance.
In addition to completing the requirements of the One Mind Campaign, the Dunwoody Police Department has certified a member of our team to teach the Mental Health First Aid program to others. Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches students how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives students the skills they need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.
For more information about the One Mind Campaign, please visit the IACP’s website: http://www.theiacp.org/onemindcampaign. For more information on the Mental Health First Aid course, please visit https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/.