IPSWICH — Police Chief and Harbormaster Paul A. Nikas is pleased to share that the Ipswich Police Department has completed its pledge through the One Mind Campaign to improve law enforcement interactions with those affected by mental illness.
In 2017, the Ipswich Police Department pledged to join the One Mind Campaign, an initiative that was started by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in an effort to improve the interactions between law enforcement agencies and those with mental illnesses. Departments that pledge to join the campaign are challenged to implement practices within their agency to improve mental health programming, training and procedures within a one to three year time period.
The IACP also provides resources to departments that pledge to join the One Mind Campaign, including a toolkit produced by the Bureau of Justice Assistance with resources for law enforcement agencies looking to partner with mental health providers, a model policy for law enforcement when responding to persons suffering from mental illness, and resources for planning mental health first aid and crisis intervention team program trainings.
“The Ipswich Police Department recognizes the importance and complexity of ensuring our Department is properly trained and prepared to best serve all members of our community, especially when responding to calls related mental health concerns,” Chief Nikas said. “This is an initiative we are deeply committed to, and I am thankful and proud of the efforts throughout the Department to fulfill this pledge through the One Mind Campaign. Completion of this pledge does not mean the Ipswich Police will stop training in this critical area of need, it means we will continue to build on this platform with annual training in both mental health and substance abuse fields to better serve vulnerable populations within our community.”
All Ipswich Police Department officers and dispatchers have completed Mental Health First Aid training, and 10 of its 25 officers have completed Crisis Intervention Training (CIT). Of the Department’s 25 officers, 17 have also completed Mental Health First Aid for Veterans.
The Department issued a policy on serving the mentally ill in 2014 which guides officers in recognizing symptoms of mental illness and providing services. It also explains an officer’s authority to act in crisis situations and situations where people are amenable to treatment or where they are resistant. The Department’s shift rosters also reflect which officers are CIT-trained and are sent on all calls where a person is believed to be suffering from mental illness.
The Ipswich Police Department has partnered with Beth Israel Lahey Health Behavioral Services (BILHS), which operates in the community and is the emergency service provider for the region. Police interact with BILHS several times every few weeks in coordinating services around specific cases. In addition, BILHS also provides a civilian mental health clinician who is embedded with the Department for 20 hours each week for coordinated follow-up visits around specific cases.
The Ipswich Police Department received a certificate of completion for fulfilling the goals of its One Mind Pledge from the IACP on Friday, Feb. 28.