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Specialized Policing Responses (SPRs): Law Enforcement/Mental Health Learning Sites Application Deadline: July 9, 2010

Contact Information Name Title Address Telephone E-mail address


What is A Learning Site? In an effort to expand the knowledge base for law enforcement agencies interested in starting or enhancing a specialized policing response (SPR), the Justice Center, along with a team of expert advisory board members and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, will select four agencies to serve as “learning sites.”* These learning sites are not intended as ideal national models, but will collectively reflect the range of strategies a law enforcement agency might consider when developing a response to people with mental illnesses. Learning sites should demonstrate a commitment to the ten essential elements of a specialized law enforcement-based program while maintaining flexibility in designing their programs to meet their communities’ needs. (The ten essential elements can be found on page 6.) These programs should represent a strong collaborative effort between law enforcement and mental health agencies, while considering the input of other relevant stakeholders. As centers of peer-to-peer learning and support, learning site personnel must be committed to providing guidance to agencies in other jurisdictions and willing to expend the time necessary to provide guidance to agencies in other jurisdictions. Funding will be provided to offset the costs associated with these tasks, including, but not limited to, meals for meetings, transportation, and printing materials. Instructions for completion 1. Please see overview of “Specialized Policing Responses: Law Enforcement/Mental Health Learning Sites” for a description of the project and an outline of selection considerations at 2. If the space provided for the response is insufficient, you may provide concise supplemental documents. Please indicate any file/document name(s) that relate to the question within the space provided. 3. Applications must be received or postmarked by July 9, 2010. 4. Completed applications should be submitted to Elizabeth Dodd electronically at; mailed to her attention at Council of State Governments Justice Center, 100 Wall Street, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10005; or faxed to her at 212-482-2344. 5. If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Elizabeth Dodd ( / 646-383-5749).                                                             *

This application refers to all law enforcement-based responses as “specialized policing responses” or SPRs. The term encompasses both “CIT “and “co-responder” approaches, as well as any other program developed to respond to people with mental illnesses.

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Jurisdiction Characteristics All law enforcement agencies, regardless of size, are eligible and encouraged to apply. Smaller departments may choose to collaborate and submit a single application for a regional program, and should indicate which agency will serve as the lead on the application. If applying as a regional collaboration, please describe the total catchment area for the initiative when responding to these questions.

1. Law enforcement agency name(s) 2. Total number of agency personnel Number of sworn

Number of civilian

3. Jurisdiction and State 4. Total population served (estimate) 5. What is the primary type of jurisdiction? (check the best match) Urban Suburban Rural Mixed (please describe) Other (please describe)

Specialized Policing Response (SPR) Program Model 6. What year did your agency first implement a SPR? If your agency has implemented more than one SPR (e.g., CIT, co-response), please list the earliest year of implementation.

7. Please briefly describe your SPR(s).

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8. Please list all relevant partnerships that contribute to your SPR(s), including, but not limited to, mental health agencies and community-based service providers.

9. Does your agency meet regularly with SPR partner agencies?



10. What was the catalyst for implementing SPR(s) (e.g., high-profile incident, lawsuit, consent decree, mental health advocacy effort, police agency personnel initiated)? How did this drive the program design process?

11. What is the primary response protocol? (choose best match)

Traditionally-trained patrol officers respond to the call. Specially-trained law enforcement officers respond to the call for service to provide crisis intervention services and to act as liaisons to the mental health system. Mental health professionals partner with specially trained law enforcement officers to provide joint on-scene crisis intervention and referral (e.g., co-responder teams). Mental health providers, often as members of a mobile crisis team, are called in by law enforcement to provide crisis intervention at the scene. Other (please describe)

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Any additional information about the primary response protocol (optional):

12. Is there a secondary response or follow-up protocol?



If yes, please select all that apply.

Specially-trained law enforcement officers support or take over for the patrol officer on the scene to provide crisis intervention services and to act as liaisons to the mental health system. Officers on the scene request assistance from teams of mental health professionals and law enforcement officers to provide on-scene crisis intervention and referral. Mental health providers, often as members of a mobile crisis team, are called in by law enforcement to provide crisis intervention at the scene. Law enforcement officials partner with mental health clinicians to provide case management and follow-up services. Other (please describe)

Any additional information about the secondary response protocol (optional):

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Populations Served 13. What is the priority population of the program? (check all that apply) Juveniles Individuals in a particular beat/area University population People with co-occurring substance abuse disorders People who experience homelessness Other (please describe) There is no specific priority population beyond people with mental illnesses. (Skip to question 15)

14. How was the priority population determined?

Additional information about the population served by your agency’s SPR(s) (optional):

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Program Strengths 15. Please check the three elements in which your SPR(s) excels the most.†

The Essential Elements of a Specialized Law Enforcement-Based Program 1. Collaborative Planning and Implementation: Organizations and individuals representing a wide range of disciplines and perspectives and with a strong interest in improving law enforcement encounters with people with mental illnesses work together in one or more groups to determine the response program’s characteristics and guide implementation efforts.

2. Program Design: The planning committee designs a specialized law enforcement–based program to address the root causes of the problems that are impeding improved responses to people with mental illnesses and makes the most of available resources.

3. Specialized Training: All law enforcement personnel who respond to incidents in which an individual’s mental illness appears to be a factor receive training to prepare for these encounters; those in specialized assignments receive more comprehensive training. Dispatchers, call takers, and other individuals in a support role receive training tailored to their needs.

4. Call-Taker and Dispatcher Protocols: Call takers and dispatchers identify critical information to direct calls to the appropriate responders, inform the law enforcement response, and record this information for analysis and as a reference for future calls for service.

5. Stabilization, Observation, and Disposition: Specialized law enforcement responders deescalate and observe the nature of incidents in which mental illness may be a factor using tactics focused on safety. Drawing on their understanding and knowledge of relevant laws and available resources, officers then determine the appropriate disposition.

6. Transportation and Custodial Transfer: Law enforcement responders transport and transfer custody of the person with a mental illness in a safe and sensitive manner that supports the individual’s efficient access to mental health services and the officers’ timely return to duty.

7. Information Exchange and Confidentiality: Law enforcement and mental health personnel have a well-designed procedure governing the release and exchange of information to facilitate necessary and appropriate communication while protecting the confidentiality of community members. 8. Treatment, Supports, and Services: Specialized law enforcement–based response programs connect individuals with mental illnesses to comprehensive and effective community-based treatment, supports, and services.

9. Organizational Support: The law enforcement agency’s policies, practices, and culture support the specialized response program and the personnel who further its goals.

10. Program Evaluation and Sustainability: Data are collected and analyzed to help demonstrate the impact of and inform modifications to the program. Support for the program is continuously cultivated in the community and the law enforcement agency.


These ten elements are from Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses: The Essential Elements of a Specialized Law Enforcement-Based Program. As indicated above, the publication is available for free download at


16. Please describe why your agency would make a good learning site, based on how your SPR excels in the three elements chosen above.

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Additional Information 17. Please provide any additional information about your SPR(s), including any other elements of your initiative that you believe are particularly strong and of value for other agencies to understand. This may include any information that demonstrates program sustainability, training and protocols for dispatchers, information-sharing policies, and/or any strong peersupport features. (Optional)

Applicants selected as finalists will be asked to provide a letter of commitment signed by the chief executive and a letter of support from local mental health partners.

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