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Improving Officer Safety in Interactions With Citizens Suffering From Mental Illness

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2017
2 pages
In this 5-minute online video, Cara Altimus, a former ASSS Fellow with the National Institute of Justice, discusses the relationship between drug addiction and mental illness, as well as the importance of law enforcement officers understanding mental illness, its causes, and how it affects the brain, so they can interact with mentally ill persons safely and appropriately.
Altimus reports the estimate that one in five drug abusers has a mental disorder, which puts drug abusers at risk of irrational and unpredictable behaviors. She also recommends that police officers, who frequently interact with drug abusers in the course of their work, should be instructed in the nature of mental illness, its causes, related behaviors, and how various behaviors stemming from mental illness can be managed to increase both the safety of the officers and the mentally ill person.

Date Published: May 1, 2017