Somerville Police Complete the One Mind Campaign Pledge
Somerville, MA—The Somerville Police Department is pleased to announce that they have completed a pledge they took to improve their response to those suffering from mental illness in their community. The pledge is part of an initiative called the One Mind Campaign started by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), a 30,000 member professional association for law enforcement that provides training, technical assistance, and recruitment services.
To join the One Mind Campaign, law enforcement agencies must pledge to implement four promising practices in a 12-36 month period to ensure successful future interactions between police officers and persons with mental illness.
In completing the One Mind Pledge, the Somerville Police Department established a sustainable partnership with the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC), NAMI, and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health to develop a two part 8 hour in-service course in which 100% of SPD Officers completed Part I in 2016 and Part II in 2018. The Somerville Police successfully developed and implemented a model policy to address officers’ interactions with those affected by mental illness, and ensured that all of their officers received some type of mental health awareness training. Among other accomplishments, over 50 percent of sworn officers have completed the 40hr. Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training offered by Metro Boston Crisis Intervention Team Training and Technical Assistance Center (MBCIT-TTAC) a program of police in-house Community Outreach, Help & Recovery (COHR) unit.
The 40-hour Crisis Intervention curriculum is designed by local agencies to train a team of specialized officers to respond to calls that involve individuals with mental health disorders such as depression or intellectual disability. The curriculum includes education on various de-escalation techniques as well as live role-play scenarios of officers responding to persons who need mental health assistance.
In the law enforcement community, mental illness has become a common focus, with some departments estimating that as many as 20% of their calls for service are related to mental health challenges. The Somerville Police joined the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s One Mind Campaign because of the commitment to ensure interactions between the police and communities who are impacted by behavioral health are safe, collaborative and effective.
Special Thanks and appreciation for all the hard work from SPD-COHR Staff: Director Patty Contente, Co-Director Jenn Korn, Law Enforcement Partnership Coordinator Sabrina Ozit, Project Assistant Gregory Johnson, and local partners, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Municipal Police Training Center (MPTC), and Massachusetts Department of Mental Health on his pledge.