Small Agency Response to Incidents Involving Persons with Mental Illness or Substance Abuse Issues

Project Summary 

Persistent lack of community-based mental health resources available to people in crisis has resulted in frequent need for police intervention. Law enforcement agencies across the country are turning to CIT and other specialized police response models that focus on cross-sector collaboration between law enforcement, mental health agencies, and advocates.  While these efforts have proliferated and show promise in meeting goals, they are largely typical of medium and large departments. However, the vast majority of police agencies are small and may not have the resources to fund CIT training, may not have mental health resources close at hand, nor receive the numbers of calls involving persons with mental illness or substance abuse issues to justify expensive programs.  The National Police Foundation is examining the kinds of approaches that small LEAs are adopting to respond in appropriate ways to persons with behavioral health issues.



A national survey will provide detailed descriptions of innovative approaches that small agencies are using.  Visits to six innovative sites will gather information describe the state of data collection systems that would inform a future  evaluation of the crisis response programs.





Funding & Collaboration

This study is funded by Arnold Ventures.


Points of Contact

Rob Davis
Chief Social Scientist
National Police Foundation

Kalani Johnson
Research Assistant
National Police Foundation

Michael Lebron
Research Assistant
National Police Foundation



Crisis response, small LEAs