Phoenix Police Crisis Intervention Team Trainer Aims To 'Build Empathy' For Mental Health Issues

Published: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 1:43pm
Updated: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 4:04pm
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Phoenix saw a spike in officer-involved shootings last year: 44 of them in 2018. It marked the most police shootings in the nation. A report released in April aimed to find out why.

While it didn’t point to any single cause, it did suggest some ways to bring that number back down. Among them is to study mental health issues.

Everyone agreed, from critics of the police department to the officers themselves: Police officers should not be on the front lines of the mental health system in our community. And they often are.

Chief Jeri Williams said it's an opportunity to develop stronger partnerships between officers and the mental health providers whose job it is to respond to people in crisis.

Detective Sabrina Taylor is the Crisis Intervention Team training coordinator for Phoenix Police. Her team brings every stakeholder to the table — from law enforcement and behavioral health professionals to advocates — to address the problem.

The Crisis Intervention Team then trains police officers in how to respond to a call when someone is in crisis.

Members of the public can call the Crisis Response Network (CRN) emergency line at 602-222-9444 or 800-631-1314. The non-emergency number is 211.

Veterans can contact Be Connected at 1-866-4AZ-VETS.

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