U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Variability in Law Enforcement State Standards: A 42-State Survey on Mental Health and Crisis De-escalation Training

NCJ Number
Martha Plotkin; Talia Peckerman
Date Published
January 2017
10 pages
This report presents the findings and methodology of a 42-State survey that examined the features of State requirements for law enforcement training on how to respond to people whose mental health needs may be a factor in an incident to which law enforcement officers respond.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center partnered with the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training to survey all State Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) entities or other State training authorities to determine the training standards used by States and U.S. Territories for police training on de-escalation and responding to people with mental illnesses. The survey conducted in 2016 received responses from 42 States and 1 U.S. Territory. The survey determined that despite consistent recognition of the value of this training, there is significant variability in such standards among States, and the focus is mostly on entry-level training. Forty-one of the 42 States have standards for mental health training, and about 40 States have training for de-escalation training. The focus is on entry-level training. The average umber of training hours spent on mental health and de-escalation topics is just over 14 hours. Approximately half of the responding States require in-service or specialized training in how to interact constructively with individuals who have a mental illness. The most common training challenges identified by respondents are time, staffing, the impact of creating standards with mandated hours or delivery mechanisms, and the costs for both officers and trainers. A listing of additional resources