Madison, WI. January, 2015 – Madison's police chief, Mike Koval, introduced a new initiative aimed at helping people with mental health issues. The Madison Police Department has created a new team of 'mental health officers' to respond to incidents involving people with mental illness. Five mental health liaison officers have been appointed and will not only respond to calls for crisis intervention, but will also work closely with mental health service agencies to try to prevent a crisis before it happens. The officers will solely focus on the issues-working with service providers, those with mental illness, and their families to make sure they are getting the help and care they need. “I want these officers to be able to get in front of these compelling cases before they become runaway tragedies,” Koval said.
Mental Health Liaison Officers - who are regularly-assigned patrol officers that volunteer/are selected to serve as Mental Health Liaisons - do respond to mental health crises when available, but their primary responsibilities include: Identifying ongoing issues and coordinating follow-up efforts with partner agencies; outreach to residents in their respective districts with mental illness; serving as a points-of-contact regarding mental health systems issues; conducting trainings, attending relevant community meetings, and sharing necessary information internally and externally as appropriate. In conjunction with fellow district patrol officers, the Mental Health Liaison Officers work within and across districts to provide a coordinated, consistent, and collaborative response to individuals living with a mental illness.
Please visit www.cityofmadison.com for more information on Madison's Mental Health Liaison Officers.