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Police: Handling issues of mentally ill just part of the job
But other times, the results can be traumatic. In 2011, police were involved in five shootings that involved confrontations with someone suffering from some form of behavioral illness. In four, people died from police shootings ruled justified.
"The reality is, the police ended up on the front line dealing with people who have mental illness when the system lost its ability to treat mental illness in a humane way," said Ken Norton, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
. No lights and sirens.
. No command or authoritative voice. An officer should introduce himself, explain why he is there and engage in conversation.
"It's really all about being a calming influence," Mello said. "If you have a lot of officers and lights and sirens, it can make things worse."
Two years ago, Manchester joined Rochester in launching Crisis Intervention Team training for select officers. Concord has since instituted a CIT, Norton said.
But other departments don't go so far.
Meanwhile, the New Hampshire State Police is only now developing an in-service training program for its 225 uniformed troopers, said Lt. Nicole Armaganian. She said police are working with NAMI to develop the training regimen.
Speaking anecdotally, police said they haven't seen a big jump in calls related to mental illness over the last several years. "I don't think it's getting better or worse, but what's obvious in this state is the lack of beds," Mello said.
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