Attorney General Marc Dann pledged Friday to train local police officers to recognize mental illness.
That training could change the fate that befalls so many mentally ill people– they act out, police are called, and the situation deteriorates and ends in an arrest. Often, the court system is the first contact a mentally ill person has with an agency that can help, Dann said at the annual awards meeting of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Cleveland (NAMI).
Dann said that when he announced last week that he would en force screening of applicants for concealed carry permits to ensure none had been found mentally ill or incompetent by a judge, he “made sure I didn’t do anything to increase the stigma of mental illness. My brother Dan made sure I didn’t.”
Dann’s brother, Dan Arian suffers from mental illness and sits on the board of directors for NAMI Greater Cleveland.
Dann said his office is the intersection between the local law enforcement officer who first encounters the mentally ill and the courts, where the illness is recognized and addressed. He wants to extend that recognition beyond the courts and require training for law enforcement officers to recognize mental illness.
“The trained officer can get the citizen the needed help before there is a criminal charge filed,” Dann said, adding that his office will implement a pilot program to bridge the gap.
The article doesn’t mention any specifics of the training program and I don’t know if such specifics were discussed at the event but I’ll make a few inquiries and update.
It’s shocking, completely shocking to me that, for example, the one profiled in PA is said to be the first of its kind. Unbelievable given what we know and how long we’ve known.