Westbrook Police complete requirements in pledge to improve mental health calls

The Westbrook Police Department has completed its pledge to improve responses to people with mental health conditions as part of the One Mind Campaign.

To meet the requirements of the campaign by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Westbrook department established a stronger relationship with the Opportunity Alliance, developed and implemented a model policy to address interactions with people with mental health problems, ensured all officers have received mental health awareness training and put together ongoing trainings for the future.

At least 20% of members also completed the more intensive Crisis Intervention Team training.

“In the law enforcement community, people with mental health conditions have become a common focus, with some departments estimating that as many as 20% of their calls for service are related to mental health challenges,” Mayor Mike Foley said at the April 4 City Council meeting.

In 2020, out of a total of about 32,500 calls, the Westbrook Police Department responded to 107 mental health calls, 38 more than 2019; 144 suicide threats or attempts, 37 more than 2019; and 87 overdose calls with five fatal, 38 more overdoses and two more fatal overdoses than 2019, Police Chief Sean Lally previously told the American Journal.

“With Mental Health Liaison Jo Freedman spearheading the effort, the Westbrook Police Department made the decision to join the IACP’s One Mind Campaign as part of their desire to continue to improve themselves and their responses to mental health calls,” Foley said.

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