Police Officers Need More Resources for Mental Health Crisis

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type




First Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


Mental illnesses have become a topic of conversation in recent years as a topic that police officers do not have knowledge of or know how to effectively handle those that suffer from mental illnesses. Mental illnesses have been of higher priority recently and police officers do not have much knowledge when handling situations regarding someone who has a mental illness. Those that suffer the most from mental illnesses are often in contact with officers as they are usually the first to respond to these calls. Officers do not have enough resources or training to handle situations with those who suffer from various mental illnesses. The importance of this research is to understand how the officers feel when it comes to how ready they are to deal with those who have mental illnesses and how they are able to respond to a call regarding a mental health crisis. By conducting interviews with officers from different departments I was able to understand their view on the mental health crisis they deal with daily. The participants of the study consisted of two law enforcement officers that were all male. The interview questions that the officers were asked covered three of different topics such as training, experiences in the field, and department policies. They only have so many resources that are available to them such as for the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department (LASD) they only have the mental evaluation team (MET) to assist them on calls for mental health crises. After reviewing existing research for this topic and engaging with the officers on their experiences, it is clear that officers in fact need more resources available to them on mental health situations. Hearing from the officers about their experiences that they have had with engaging in different types of crisis and interactions with those that might be suffering it is evident that they need more resources to help in the field. My study will help others understand how officers feel about their training on mental health as well as what they really have available to them and if it is helpful enough for them on patrol.

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