At the Houston Police Department, a licensed clinical social worker or caseworker rides along when police answer an emergency call regarding a person presumed to be mentally ill. Some 30 of those ride-along professionals now work out of that department’s relatively new Mental Health Division.
In Wisconsin, the Madison Police Department Mental Health Liaison Program has similar pairings of health clinicians and cops, otherwise known as crisis intervention response teams.
The teams in those two cities reflect an innovative approach to handling police encounters with mentally ill persons that is picking up traction around the country.
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