APD revamps approach to people who suffer from mental illness
September 14, 2018 10:21 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Albuquerque Police Department is taking a different approach when dealing with suspects or victims who suffer from mental illness.
According to the Department of Justice, APD’s past use of force in response to mental health calls was a cause for concern. Now, following implemented reforms, each officer receives crisis intervention training.
APD Spokesperson Simon Drobik said a large number of calls that police take involve mental illness.
Last year, APD received 6,535 behavioral-health related calls for service, or about 700 a month.
In July, officers responded to a call at Humble Coffee on Lomas Boulevard, an incident that left the street shut down for several hours as they worked to apprehend a man who found his way onto the roof of the building.
Officers managed to the man into custody without incident.
"In these types of situations, in the past, we may have speeded things up trying to get him off the roof," Drobik said. "(Now) we're going to take our time, for the safety of him, for the safety of the patrons and the safety of the officers."
He also said investigators conduct follow-ups on incidents involving people who suffer from mental illnesses to see how they can help connect them with resources like treatment.
"A lot of officers get injured during these types of incidents because they want to rush in and grab a guy when really what it's all about is slowing things down and talking to people," Drobik said.
Updated: September 14, 2018 10:21 PM
Created: September 14, 2018 10:09 PM
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