COPS Program Fuels Mental Health Initiative

DOJ’s COPS grant program helps local police departments deploy community policing principles with a focus on mental health issues. Are your law enforcement officers trained to handle mental health issues in the field?

What Happened?
The Park Ridge Police Department received a $100k federal grant to incorporate community policing principles into a mental health initiative. The pilot program will be used to test training for police officers focused on mental health issues.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), through its Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, awarded the Park Ridge Police Department in Illinois with a two-year $99,669 grant to support training of officers and building out an awareness campaign. Park Ridge PD is experimenting with a new mental health program that calls for increased training on how best to deal with mental health issues while in the field. It will also begin a community awareness initiative to educate the public on mental health concerns and provide resources to help those in need, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Furthermore, the federal grant will aid the police department and its partners – Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and the University of Illinois’ Center for Public Safety and Justice – in developing a tool kit of ideas and best practices for managing public health concerns in law enforcement interactions. The tool kit will act as a foundation for how to replicate the Park Ridge model if it proves successful.

Because police and first responders often reach an emergency situation first, it is important for these workers to understand how to handle a situation involving mental health issues. The pilot project underscores the importance of building out the role of law enforcement into community policing, which includes providing specific assistance in situations of crisis.

DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program aims to promote community policing at the state, local and tribal levels of law enforcement. The program is designed to provide capital to police departments looking to expand their services in the community, as well as offer knowledge resources informing law enforcement on the latest best practices in policing.

Mental Health Services
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is also awarding federal grants to improve mental health services for young people. The HHS is providing $99 million in new grant funding to:

  • Train mental health providers
  • Help teachers recognize mental health issues in youth and offer help
  • Increase access to mental health services for young people

The grants are part of a larger Now Is The Time plan to reduce violence in schools and increasing access to mental health services for students. The grant awards include:

  • $30.3 million to expand the mental health workforce with 100 grants for training programs
  • $2.7 million for five grants to support youth Minority Fellowship programs to increase access to mental health services
  • $1.6 million for two grants to support addiction counselor Minority Fellowship programs to increase access to substance abuse treatment services
  • $48 million to support teachers, school and communities in recognizing mental health issues among youth
  • $16.7 million to support 17 Healthy Transitions grants to improve access to treatment and support services for young adults

For more information on mental health grants check out the HRSA website.

Justice Grants
EfficientGov has reported on a variety of justice-related grants designed to support communities fighting crime, poverty and other serious issues.

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