CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago’s first responders demonstrated Monday new cross-training programs to help recognize those dealing with mental illness.
But the Justice Department report on the Chicago Police Department criticized those efforts as deficient.
CBS 2’s political reporter Derrick Blakely has more details.
“I’m just really thirsty. I’m just really thirsty. I need something to drink.”
Chicago Police were called to a tavern with an erratic customer.
It was not a real, but rather, new training to help first responders recognize mental illness.
“We owe it to every citizen of Chicago to give them the best service we can,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “And part of it is being able to identify someone with a mental health crisis.”
The DOJ said the 911 dispatcher did not recognize the call as someone in crisis. No crisis-trained officer was sent to the scene and officers failed to use crisis intervention techniques.
But the city said that is changing. WBBM’s Craig Dellimore reports.
“The entire system is built to fill those gaps that might be there because the police department cannot do it themselves,” said Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago.
Ninety percent of 911 dispatchers have been trained to recognize calls dealing with the mentally ill and 2,500 officers have received crisis intervention training.
“The goal is for us to ensure we have enough officers on every watch, every district, trained so when these mental health calls come out and they are identified, we will have an adequate number of officers in district on patrol, who can respond to these calls,” Johnson said.
And more officers are receiving an eight-hour, live-action simulation training, that brings dispatchers, paramedics and emergency room personnel together.
“It’s bringing together agencies that traditionally did not know what each other’s roles were,” said Dr. Eddie Markul, EMS medical director.
City hall said Chicago started implementing many of these mental health policing reforms, well before the Justice Department report, which is true.
But that same report blasted the city for reducing its support of the program, cutting the number of administrations and trainers from nine to just three.
The feds said that is putting too much pressure on too few people to do an important job.