NYAPRS Note: Mental health advocate have just concluded a NY City Hall speak out calling for the training of 10,000 more police officers in Crisis Intervention techniques and, according to NYAPRS immediate past co-president Carla Rabinowitz of Community Access, for a system to ensure that an officer with CIT training is immediately deployed to situations involving a person with emotional problems. The speak out was held on the heels of a tragic fatal police shooting of Deborah Danner, who shared her own story in heart rending terms in a journal that was published by the NY Times (http://www.nyaprs.org/e-news-bulletins/2016/015288.cfm).
To Respond To Mental Health Challenges, Advocates Want More Police Trained And Deployed
By Azi Paybarah Politico November 14, 2016
New York City needs to train 10,000 more police officers in how to de-escalate conflicts with emotionally disturbed people and make sure there is a systematic effort to use those specially-trained officers when there are emergencies, mental health advocates gathered outside City Hall said Monday afternoon.
The call comes weeks after an NYPD sergeant fatally shot a schizophrenic woman who had allegedly confronted him with a baseball bat inside her Bronx apartment. Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill criticized the shooting and the matter is being investigated.
Currently, about 4,400 NYPD officers have received "crisis intervention training," which is "really good," according to Carla Rabinowitz, the advocacy coordinator for the group Community Access, which assists people with mental heath concerns. Rabinowitz told reporters Monday the officers who undergo CIT training "need to be deployed to answer [Emotionally Disturbed People] calls. Right now these highly trained officers who can appropriately respond to mental health concerns are just working their old beat."
Rabinowitz said there is no system ensuring that an officer with CIT training is immediately deployed to situations involving a person with emotional problems. The NYPD also has an Emergency Services Unit of about 300 people, which Rabinowitz said responds to EDP calls, but "the ESU is not trained in the new, compassionate approach for mental health recipients," Rabinowitz said.
"ESU is trained to respond in situations of aggression and force", she said, adding, "they're not trained in how to be compassionate and de-escalate. That's what we need." Rabinowitz said people with mental illness "need these officers who are trained ... to be deployed."
A spokesman for the NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.