Mayor Rahm Emanuel will announce several changes to the way Chicago police handle situations involving people with mental illnesses Friday.
Laquan McDonald, Quintonio LeGrier, and Betty Jones are a few of the recent controversial police-involved shootings that have created urgency in the ongoing push for sweeping changes across the Chicago Police Department.
Emanuel hopes the new comprehensive reform will improve the city's response to emergencies surrounding people who suffer from mental illness. Highlights from the plan were outlined in a Thursday night release from the city and include the following:
Training for all Officers: Working with mental health experts, CPD will create and implement in-service training on mental health awareness for all police officers.
Expand Crisis Intervention Team program capacity by 50 percent: As part of the new reform efforts, in 2016 the CPD will expand the number of officers fully certified in CIT by 50%, with continued CIT training planned for subsequent years. CPD will also continue its mandate that each district has at least one CIT-certified officer staffed on every watch.
CIT Certification for Supervisors: Going forward, CPD will require full CIT certification for all Field Training Officers and new promotional classes to ensure that supervisors responding to incidents are fully trained in CIT protocol and techniques.
Training for 911: Working with mental health experts, OEMC will develop improved training for 911 operators and dispatchers to assist them with identifying situations requiring crisis intervention tactics and dispatch the appropriate resources.
Data and evaluation: The OEMC, Chicago Department of Public Health, CPD and CFD will work together to increase data collection to help identify opportunities to improve policies and resource allocations specific to mental health related responses.
Improved Access to Services: The City will collaborate with mental health experts and community partners to explore new models for improving immediate access to mental health services when individuals interact with police and other first-responders.
City officials say the reform efforts stemmed from advice given by the mayor’s new Citywide Mental Health Response Steering Committee, comprised of city leaders, service providers and mental health experts.