NYAPRS Note: Yesterday, about 150 advocates came together at City Hall in New York City to call for the creation of specially trained Crisis Teams to better handle “emotionally disturbed person” calls to the NYPD, around 100,000 of which the city police department receives each year. At the least, these Crisis Intervention Teams would mean more extensive training of police officers about expectations and behaviors associated with mental health episodes, as well as trauma-informed response and cultural competence. The Teams could also consist of psychiatric professionals, nurses, and/or peers, but in any arrangement would always include a warm hand-off to a crisis de-escalation team, provided the incident was not criminally related. The event was organized by Communities for Crisis Intervention Teams (www.ccitnyc.org) and was supported by a broad array of groups including Community Access and NYAPRS. Carla Rabinowitz, Community Organizer at Community Access and President-elect of the NYAPRS Board of Directors, is credited with being the primary organizer for the event.
Experts, Lawmakers Want Changes To NYPD Response To Emotionally Disturbed People
Activist: Goal Is To 'De-escalate A Situation Instead Of Escalating It'
WCBS New York City September 25, 2013
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some city leaders and mental health advocates held a rally Wednesday, calling on changes to the NYPD’s policy when responding to calls for emotionally disturbed people.
As WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reported, the NYPD responds to about 100,000 calls per year involving emotionally disturbed people.
Dustin Grose was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 15.
Speaking at a City Hall press conference on Wednesday, he said his family called the police on him but he didn’t want to go to the hospital.
“One of the police officers handcuffed me behind my back. Then they started punching me in my face,” Grose said. “My nose was broken and I had blood stains in my eyes.”
Activists have pushed for the NYPD to amend its policy and bring along specialized teams for calls involving emotionally disturbed people.
“De-escalate a situation instead of escalating it,” said Steve Coe with the advocacy group Community Access.
“In a city like New York, we should be at the forefront,” said City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez.
She added hundreds of cities already have special procedures in place for these types of emergency calls.
Mendez is behind a resolution to change NYPD policy, though it would take state legislation to enforce any changes.
“If they don’t do this, we’ll continue to have the horrific stories of people being treated like criminals, at worse being killed,” said City Councilman Jumaane Williams. “This, to me, is one of the more common sense things that we’ve proposed.”
Earlier this week, the family of a man who was fatally shot by police filed a lawsuit against the city calling for changes in the way the NYPD handles emotionally disturbed people.