Interim Police Chief White outlines Detroit police’s changing approach to mental health cases

‘You have to ask yourself is incarceration the best option at this time or is treatment the best option?’

Interim Police Chief White outlines Detroit police's changing approach to mental health cases
Interim Police Chief White outlines Detroit police's changing approach to mental health cases

DETROIT – How Detroit police handle mental health cases is changing.

Local 4 sat down with Interim Police Chief James White about how 98 officers have gone through mental health training. Those officers -- in a squad car -- have a mental health specialist embedded with them.

“It’s real big, and when you look at the fact that you’re talking about a tool that the officers can use to deescalate,” White said.

The teams will rush to critical situations that can turn violent at any moment. Their job is to deescalate the situation and get the person help.

“The person who is in crisis is already a victim of the illness. We don’t want to re-victimize them by putting them in the judicial system when they really need mental health services,” White said.

When it comes to a crime being committed, White said, “We have to address the crime issue, but we also recognize that the person in crisis may or may not be aware of what they are engaged in.”

“You have to ask yourself is incarceration the best option at this time or is treatment the best option?”

Watch the full report in the video above.


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About the Author:

Shawn Ley is an Emmy-Award winning reporter. In more than 20 years covering stories in television news, Shawn’s reporting has taken him from war-torn eastern Europe, to reporting from an F-16 fighter jet and now to the fast and furious breaking news of Detroit.