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Detroit Legal Blog

How Detroit Police Handle Individuals Experiencing Mental Crisis

Dec 03, 2021, by Maurice Davis in Criminal Defense
Police officer crouching down to talk to seated woman

We hear about too many cases of individuals suffering from mental illness being subject to further distress when the police are unaware of properly handling their struggles. Over the last year or so, many police forces, including Detroit, have taken a keen interest in doing their part to reduce unfortunate incidents surrounding people struggling with mental health issues.

By properly training police to handle individuals experiencing mental crises, the number of injuries, death, and catastrophic events may be considerably reduced.

Detroit Police Training for Mental Health Issues

Detroit’s Police Department has been in partnership with the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network since 2019 to handle better situations where people are struggling with mental health crises.

Police go through specialized training, which helps identify if and when someone is struggling with their mental health and de-escalate the situation. One of the key goals is to offer the person working the resources they need without detaining them or pursuing criminal charges.

This type of Crisis Intervention Training has been carefully curated. Andrea Smith, with Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network, said, “It’s training centered around bringing behavioral health specialists together with law enforcement professionals.”

Ultimately, the Detroit Police are attempting to reframe the way police approach their work. They are hoping to reduce instances of officer-related violence by learning how to identify the signs and symptoms of various mental health conditions such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide
  • And more

The time spent in training is designed to help police become trauma-informed individuals who look at their community differently. Captain Tonya Leonard-Gilbert, head of training for the Detroit Police Department, said, “I’m sure that everyone has someone in their family that has been impacted by mental health, so I’m happy to see us approach it in this way.”

Options for Those Arrested With Mental Health Issues

If you or a loved one are ever arrested after experiencing a mental health crisis, you may be facing serious criminal penalties. Fortunately, with the state’s new approach, there may be several options available to help you avoid things like jail time, fines, and all the consequences that come with a conviction.

For example, if you were struggling with substance abuse, your attorney may be able to resolve your case favorably through drug treatment court. Mental health court is another great option for individuals struggling with severe mental health issues. Detroit also offers veterans who may be dealing with mental health crises the opportunity to have their cases heard in Veterans Court.

Each of these programs has specific criteria and requirements that you will need to meet. But, once you meet the terms of your treatment program, and depending on the details, you may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

Legal Representation Is Critical

Despite all the advancements in police training and legal resources available for mental health issues, snap judgments and mistakes still happen. Those with genuine mental health problems are unnecessarily put through the criminal system and convicted.

Without a compassionate and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, you may have trouble navigating the criminal justice system to obtain the help you actually need.

Contact Davis Law Group for Help

If you or someone you love has suffered from a mental health crisis that resulted in criminal charges, it is important to take action to protect yourself. At Davis Law Group, we are here to help explain your situation, get you the resources you need, and get you through it.

Schedule your free and confidential consultation here or call 313-818-3238.