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Phoenix police take serious look at mental health crisis report

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PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department is taking a closer look at a mental health crisis report.

During a public forum Monday, the department and the public went over the report, which was made public last week.

The 2016 report is based on a survey by the Phoenix Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities.

The survey involved 244 participants who had or have mental illness and was conducted between the fall of 2015 and the spring of 2016.

Among the findings was 45 percent of the participants said police responding to mental crisis calls made the situation worse.

Sgt. Vince Lewis said the forum confirmed mental-health response training for officers needs to continue.

“Our new officers, that are coming out of the academy, are receiving close to 40 – if not a little bit over – 40 hours of documented training in the mental-illness and crisis-intervention field,” he said.

Don Logan, who heads the Phoenix Department of Equal Opportunity, agreed with Lewis’ opinion.

“[Mental illness] is an issue that’s not isolated in one segment of our community,” he said. “It covers the entire community.”

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