NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Northampton Police Department has completed their pledge to improve their response to those suffering from mental illness in the community by taking part in the One Mind Campaign.
According to Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper, 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 those with mental illness.
The Northampton Police Department committed to the following four elements of the challenge: establish a sustainable partnership with a local mental health organization, develop and implement a model policy to address officers’ interactions with those affected by mental illness, and ensure that all officers received some type of mental health awareness training, with at least 20 percent of the department completing the more intensive Crisis Intervention Training.
“The Northampton Police Department has led the way in best practices regarding police response to people with mental health issues,” Kasper said. “Prior to joining the One Mind campaign we already had well-established relationships with local service providers, we had a detailed policy on responding to incidents that involve people with mental illness, and much of our staff was already trained in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Crisis Intervention. For us, the only missing piece was to ensure that 100% of our full-time police officers completed the MHFA course. We reached that goal and we continue to train new officers in both MHFA and Crisis Intervention Training. As of this date, 54% of our officers are trained in CIT.”