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Mental Health Training: Strategies for Small and Rural Law Enforcement Agencies

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2022
3 pages

This brief details strategies for small and rural law enforcement agencies to consider when planning regional training that prepares their officers to respond appropriately and effectively to people with mental health issues.


Three mental health training principles are outlined. First, the training must be “comprehensive” in helping officers understand the overall "landscape" of mental health needs and available resources in their communities, as well as response options specific scenarios. The training should also be “consistent” by establishing a minimum number of training hours for every officer or follow the state requirements. There should also be clear requirements for ongoing training. In addition, the training should be "impactful." This requires that it be practical and incorporate classroom time and scenario-based application of training principles. Three key strategies are proposed for effectively implementing mental health training:

  1. Forge community partnerships to expand training access, capacity, and resources.
  2. Consider varying training methods.
  3. Seek out federal, state, and local funding.

Date Published: May 1, 2022