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Posted on: January 8, 2020

Portland Police Recognized for Mental Health Response

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The City of Portland is pleased to announce that the Portland Police Department is the second police agency in the state of Maine to have been recognized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) as having attained the requirements of their One Mind campaign.  

This initiative is intended to ensure that police agencies have implemented contemporary and promising best practices aimed to ensure successful future interactions between police officers and persons with mental illness in our community. Those practices essentially include implementing a policy pertaining to police officer interactions with those affected by mental illness; having mental health training for all sworn staff; and maintaining sustainable partnerships with community mental health providers.  

Chief Frank Clark noted, “Given the high frequency of contacts between our officers and those with mental illness, the department remains committed to providing not only a high level of service, but to providing the training and resources necessary to enhance outcomes and the safety of both our community members and our police officers.” 

Utilizing best practices, the Portland Police Department recently revised its standard operating procedure related to mental health response and crisis intervention, which provides direction on interacting with a person in crisis, and makes it a priority for officers to utilize the “time necessary to assess the situation and attempt to de-escalate the person.”   

The department maintains high training standards in this area, surpassing even the One Mind training requirements. Since 2015, all new officers have received basic Mental Health First Aid training during basic academy training. The department also trains all sworn staff in the more in- depth Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, using live role-play scenarios to hone their de-escalation and crisis response skills. Portland Police is committed to continuing to train all sworn staff in CIT, and also conduct ongoing mental health refresher training.

The department maintains several partnerships with community mental health organizations, including Maine Medical Center, Mercy Hospital, and Cumberland County Mobile Crisis. They routinely collaborate with these agencies “in the moment” in order to allow for community and / or hospital setting assessment of persons believed to be in crisis.

Portland officers, and members of its innovative Behavioral Health Unit, collaborate to positively impact those in our community with mental illness, substance use or co-occurring disorders.  Our Behavioral Health Unit includes a behavioral health coordinator, who facilitates department training, as well as a clinician, employed by The Opportunity Alliance, who co-responds with our officers, conducting crisis assessments and stabilization in the field. This Unit also includes a substance use disorder liaison, another co-responder and outreach initiative, which includes key elements of education, community awareness and facilitation of treatment. 

For more information on the campaign, please visit: https://www.theiacp.org/one-mind-campaign


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