Lt. Gov. Calley: Survey shows high demand by law enforcement for mental health/crisis training

Mental Health Diversion Council aims to expand trainings statewide

Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – Efforts to expand mental health and crisis training for law enforcement officials are widely supported by first responders according to a recent survey, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announced.

“Mental health and crisis training gives officers the ability to recognize mental illnesses and diffuse situations that could become extremely dangerous,” Calley said. “We’ve had success in providing this training to law enforcement in recent years and I’m pleased there is support to expand this potentially life-saving training across the state.”

The survey, conducted by the Michigan Mental Health Diversion Council, chaired by Calley, was taken by officials within the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, Michigan Sheriffs Association and the Michigan State Police.                                                                              

The survey aimed to gauge support and demand for mental health and crisis training for officers who are often the first point of contact with a person in crisis. To date, the Diversion Council has provided mental health/crisis training to more than 650 law enforcement officers in Michigan.

“Mental health incidents and calls for service for law enforcement are on the rise. It is vital that today’s law enforcement personnel have the training and resources to safely interact with people who are experiencing a mental health crisis,” said Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Kempker. “How our law enforcement personnel respond to these incidents will have an impact on how encounters are resolved and for the treatment of the person experiencing a mental health crisis.”

One third of agencies said they had not had mental health or crisis intervention training and nearly 66 percent of respondents agreed that this training is very important. Nearly 100 percent of responding agencies would support training for their agency if it were provided by the state at no cost and nearly 56 percent of respondents said they would prefer online training.

Additionally, nearly 98 percent of respondents said they would support mandated training in police academies and about 82 percent would support mandated training for certified officers.

The Diversion Council has worked to create a crisis training curriculum which trains individuals who will then provide training to others. The council will use these survey results to work on implementing this type of training on a statewide basis.

Nearly 150 law enforcement officers from across the state took the survey this fall, with 65.75 percent being from city/township agencies, 33.56 percent from sheriff’s offices and less than one percent of respondents serving in the Michigan State Police.