You are on page 1of 24

AStudyofPoliceAcademyTrainingandEducationforNewPoliceOfficers RelatedtoWorkingwithPeoplewithMentalIllness

Preparedonbehalfof ThePolice/MentalHealthSubcommitteeoftheCanadianAssociationofChiefsofPolice and TheMentalHealthandtheLawAdvisoryCommitteeoftheMentalHealthCommissionof Canada DorothyCottonandTerryColeman November2008

Introduction ItisagivenincontemporarypolicinginCanadathatinvolvementwithpeoplewithmental illnesses(PMI)isanintegralpartoftheworkofpoliceofficers,particularlybutnotexclusivelyat thelevelofthefirstresponder.Indeed,therearemanycircumstancesunderwhichpolice officersencounterpeoplewithmentalillnesses.Theseinclude: attendingpersonsexperiencingmentalhealthcrises,includingapprehensionsunderthe MentalHealthAct; callsinwhichthepublicisconcernedaboutthebehaviourofapersonwhomaynot haveactuallydoneanythingwrongorillegalbutismakingpeopleuncomfortable; situationsinwhichthePMIhasbeenvictimizedbycrimeorsocialdisorder; incidentsinwhichacallisreceivedbypoliceforanyreasonacrimeinprogress perhapsanditturnsoutthatthepersoninvolvedisdisplayingsignsofamentalillness; incidentsinwhichthePMImightbetakenintocustodyforhis/herownprotection;and socialcontacts(thosesituationsinwhichmentallyillpeoplewithlittleinthewayof socialorcommunitysupportcometorelyonthepoliceorthe911lineasfriends). Cotton(2004)commentedonthisphenomenoninherresearchrelatedtointeractions betweenthepoliceandPMI: Whengovernmentscontemplatethedeinstitutionalizationandcommunity integrationofindividualswithmentalillnesses,avarietyofcommunitysupports andservicesareconsideredessentialanddeveloped(toagreaterorlesserextent). Butonecommunityagencywhichhasbeensignificantlyaffectedbythedownsizing ofpsychiatrichospitalsisthepolice,rarelyagroupconsideredtobeacommunity mentalhealthservice.Thepolicehavebeendescribedasdefactomentalhealth providersandthefrontlineextensionofthementalhealthsystem.There remainslittledoubtthatcontactsbetweenthepoliceandthosewithmental illnesseshaveincreasedsignificantlyasmoreandmoreindividualsexperiencing mentalillnessesareresidingoutsidethehospitalandwithinthecommunityThe reasonsarecomplexandnotaltogetherclear.Tosomeextentofcourse,themere presenceofmoreindividualswithmentalillnessesinthecommunitywillincrease contact.Thereisalsoevidencethatthementallyillareatsignificantlyincreased riskofbeingvictimsofcrime,giventheirvulnerabilityThequestionofincreased riskofviolentbehaviouramongthosewithmentalillnessesremainscontroversial

tosomeextent,althoughitappearsclearthatindividualswhoarenotproperly treatedandwhoabusesubstancesareindeedatincreasedrisk.Ithasbeennoted thatthearrestrateofthosewithmentalillnessesishigherthanthatofothers,but howmuchofthisisattributabletoanactualincreaseincriminalorviolent behaviourandhowmuchisattributabletothephenomenondescribedasthe criminalizationofthementallyillisnotclearHowever,regardlessofwhether thecontactsbetweenthepoliceandindividualswithmentalillnessesare attributabletoincreasedviolence,increasedvictimizationoratendencyto criminalize,whatisclearisthatthenumbersaregoingup. Intheyearssincethatstatementwaspublished,thesituationhasbecomeevenclearer.The recent(2008)studyLostinTranslationconductedbytheVancouverPolicesuggestedahigh percentageoftheircallsoverathirdinsomepartsoftheirjurisdictioninvolvedpeople withmentalillnesses.Adetailedanalysisofallpoliceoccurrencereportsin2005inthemuch smallerjurisdictionofBelleville,Ontario(populationapproximately45,000)revealedamuch lowerpercentageoftheircallsinvolvedPMIonlyabout6%(BellevillePoliceService,2007). However,even6%representsasignificantcommitmentofpoliceresourcesandtime.Studies inLondon,Ontario(Handfordetal,2005)haveindicatedthatPMIaretwotothreetimesmore likelytohaveinteractionswithpolicethanarepeoplewithoutamentalillness.Publicationsby theBritishColumbiabranchoftheCanadianMentalHealthAssociationestimate715%of policecallsinvolvepeoplewithmentalillnesses.Inmostcases,PMIwhoencounterpolice seemtodosomorethanonce.Inallcases,thereissignificantconcernaboutensuringthe officersinvolvedareinformedandskilledininteractingwithpeoplewhomaybeexperiencing mentalhealthissues. WhilethenumberofinteractionsacrossCanadabetweenpoliceandPMIisdifficultto determinegiventhemannerinwhichpolicekeeptheirrecords,thepotentialnumberof interactionsisstaggeringbasedonanestimationderivedfrompreviousresearch.Forinstance, evenifoneacceptsthelowerproportionsuggestedbytheBellevilleresearch,which determinedthatonaverageafirstresponder/patrolofficerwillencounterabout40PMIeach year,andassumingabouthalfofCanadaspoliceofficersarefrontlineorfirstresponders,

therearelikelyabout1.3millionsuchinteractionseachyear. 1 Thisaloneprovidescompelling supportforensuringthatpolicearetrainedandeducatedinthismatteratleastatthebasic traininglevel. Whilesomeinteractionsresultinatragedythatgarnerssubstantialmediaattention,the majorityofsuchinteractionsarefortunatelyresolvedsuccessfully.AstudybyColemanand Cotton(2005)forexample,indicatedthatinthetenyearperiod19922002inclusive,there wereonlyelevensituationsacrossCanadainwhichapersonwithamentalillnessdiedinan interactionwiththepolice.However,elevensuchsituationsisclearlyeleventoomany!In coroners/medicalexaminersinquestsintothesedeaths,themostcommonrecommendation wasforimproved,ormore,policetrainingwithrespecttohowtoworkwithpersonswitha mentalillness. And,indeed,trainingandeducationhasbeenoccurring.Anecdotalinformationsuggeststhat therehasbeenadramaticincreaseinbothatthebasiclevelandatthelevelofinservice traininginthelastseveralyears.Butwhatisapparentisthatthereisnocommonlyaccepted standardnocommoncurriculum. Thisraises,ofcourse,thequestion:Whatdopoliceofficersneedtoknow?Althoughthe answerissimplisticinthatessentiallypoliceofficersneedtoknowenoughtobeabletodo theirjobs,weneedtobemorespecific.Itisreasonabletosuggestthattheyshouldatleast knowenoughabout: thesignsandsymptomsofmentalillnesstobeabletorecognizeapersonwithamental illnesswhentheyencounterone; thenormalpoliceproceduresthatwouldtypicallydisarmaperson,stabilizethe situationorleadtocooperationmayhavetheoppositeeffectonapersonwhoisina mentalhealthcrisis;

ThisfigureisbasedontheStatisticsCanadaestimatethattherewere64,134policeofficersinCanadain2007.

howtomakeinformeddecisionsregardingwhentoapprehend,whentoarrest,whento divert,whentoseekadditionalinput; aboutmentalillnesstomakesomekindofassessmentabouthowmuchcontrolthe individualislikelytohaveofhis/herbehavior; whetheritislikelythatthePMIiscapableofunderstandingandrespondingtotheir directions; beingcomfortablewithdefusingandcalmingtechniques beingabletoassesssuiciderisk; beingfamiliarenoughwithmentalhealthlegislationtotakeappropriateaction; beingawareofmentalhealthagenciesandoptions,andwhotocallforconsultation, andassistance; beingawareofthestigmaandbiaswithwhichmostpeopleincludingboththepublic andthepoliceapproachpeoplewithmentalillnesses.

Indeed,mostcurrentpolicetraining/educationprogramsinCanadalikelyreflectmanyifnotall ofthesegoalstoatleastsomeextent.Thisissupportedbyacursoryreviewofthecontentof somepolicetrainingmanualssuchasthoseoftheOntarioPoliceCollege,CalgaryPoliceand Montgomery(Md)PoliceintheUS.Thisreviewsuggeststhattrainingincludes: signsandsymptomsofmajormentalillnesses; indicationsforthepresenceofsubstanceabuse; effectsofstress; assessingsuicidalintent; behaviouralmanagementstrategies; applicationofmentalhealthlaw;and accessingservices.

Notwithstandingthis,thepurposeofthisstudywastodeterminewhatisactuallydeliveredat theCanadianpoliceacademies 2 withaviewtowarddeterminingthestrengthsandgaps,and makingsuggestionsforbestpracticesatthebasictraininglevel.Itisintendedthatthis informationwillprovideguidanceforthedesignanddeliveryofmoreadvancedinservice training. Methods Thereare13policeacademies/collegesinCanadawhichprovidebasictraining/educationto newpoliceofficers.Academiesareeithernational(asinthecaseoftheRCMP),provincialor regional(OntarioPoliceCollege,AtlanticPoliceAcademy,SaskatchewanPoliceCollegeandthe JusticeInstituteofBritishColumbia)orundertheauspicesofaparticularpoliceservice(RNC, Halifax,Winnipeg,Brandon,Calgary,Lethbridge,andEdmonton).InQuebec,aslightlydifferent modeliseffectwherebyallpolicecandidatesmustfirstobtainacollegeleveldiplomafroma CEGEP 3 programbeforeattendingtheprovincialacademy.Albertasschemeischanging.Itis anticipatedthatthetraining/educationcurrentlydeliveredindividuallybyEdmonton,Calgary, andLethbridgewillbereplacedinthefuturebytraining/educationdevelopedcentrallybythe AlbertaSolicitorGeneral.(Theproposedcurriculumforthemoduleonworkingwithpeople withmentalillnessesisincludedinthissurvey,althoughatthetimeofwriting,thismodulewas notyetoperational.)Somepoliceservices(suchasTorontoPoliceServiceandtheOPP Academy)requirethatnewcandidatesfirstattendaprovincialorregionalacademythen participateinadditionaltrainingspecifictothatservice.InothercasesOPPandToronto Policethepoliceserviceoperatesitsownacademybutnewpoliceofficersfirstattendthe OntarioPoliceCollege(OPC).Finally,somejurisdictions(e.g.Quebec,RNC)requirespecific prerequisiteeducationbeforeacandidatecanbeacceptedintothepoliceserviceorattendthe academy.
2

Policeacademyinthecontextofthisstudyincludesalllearninginstitutionsoperatedinternallybypolice agenciesand/ortheprovincialorfederalgovernmentsonbehalfofpoliceagenciesforthepurposeofproving basicandinservicetrainingtopoliceofficersandpoliceemployees. 3 CEGEPreferstoCollged'enseignementgnraletprofessionnel,meaning"CollegeofGeneralandVocational Education".Generally,thisisequivalenttoacommunitycollege

Forthepurposesofthisstudy,questionnairesweredistributedtothefollowing colleges/academies: Eachacademy/collegewasaskedtorespondtoaseriesofquestionsabout: thenumberofhoursoftraining/educationrelatedspecificallytoworkingwithPMI; thenatureandcontentofsuchtraining/education,andthetopicscovered; theteachingmodalitiesemployedandtypesofpersonnelinvolved;and othercourses,modulesandpartsofthecurriculuminwhichthetopicofinteracting withPMImaybeaddressed. Oncetheinitialresponseswereobtained,followupinterviewswereconductedtoobtain additionalinformationandclarificationasnecessary. RoyalNewfoundlandConstabulary AtlanticPoliceAcademyPEI HalifaxRegionalPolice coleNationaledeQubec JohnAbbotCEGEP(asarepresentativeoftheCEGEPsysteminQuebec) OntarioPoliceCollege(OPC) OntarioProvincialPolice TorontoPoliceService WinnipegPoliceService BrandonPoliceService SaskatchewanPoliceCollege RCMPAcademy CalgaryPoliceService AlbertaSolicitorGeneral LethbridgePolice EdmontonPoliceService JusticeInstituteofBritishColumbia(JIBC).

Responseswereobtainedfromalltheacademies/collegeslisted.However,theToronto PoliceServiceandtheOPPAcademyreportedthat,asnoted,theirbasictrainingoccursat OPCandthustheydonotprovideadditionalbasictraining/educationinthisareatotheir ownnewofficers. Results 1. DoCanadianpoliceacademiesgenerallyprovidetrainingspecifictoworkingwith peoplewithmentalillness? TheanswertothisquestionwasaresoundingYES.AllnewpoliceofficersinCanadacurrently receiveatleastminimaltraininginthisarea.Alltrainingprogramsindicatedthattraininginthis areaiscurrentlyanintegralpartoftheirbasictraining. 2. Howmuchtraining/educationarenewpoliceofficersreceiving? Newpoliceofficerstypicallyreceiveinformationrelatedtoworkingwithpeoplewithmental illnessesthroughtwochannels.First,theremightbecurriculumspecificallyaddressingthe topicorsecond,theremaybereferencetoworkingwithpeoplewithmentalillnessesinthe contextofothercourses,suchasinuseofforcetraining. Asnotedabove,allbasictrainingprogramsstudiedincludeacomponentspecificallyrelatedto workingwithPMI.Thenumberofhours,however,variesdramatically,fromonlyonehour (Lethbridge)to24hours(Edmonton). Fourprogramsprovidefivehoursorless:Lethbridge(1);Brandon(3),RCMP(4),JIBC(5). OPCprovides7hoursandCalgaryprovides7.5hours. RNC,Halifax,Winnipeg,andSaskatchewan,deliverbetween10and20hours. EdmontonandtheAtlanticPoliceAcademyprovideover20hours.

However,inaddition,mostacademiesalsoincludeinformationaboutpeoplewithmental illnessesinavarietyofothercoursesormodules.Mostcommonly,respondentsindicatedthat thisinformationisincludedin: Respondentscitedthefollowingpoliceacademycoursesthatincludeinformationrelatedto mentalhealthissues. Sociology Crisisresolution Civiliandiversity Incustodydeaths Statementadmissibility Interviewingandinterrogation Forensicinterviewing Managingthepolicefunction Communitypolicing Criminaljusticesystem Exciteddelirium Incidentmanagement Careandhandingofprisoners Suicideinterventions Controltactics Callsimulation Verbaljudo 9 useofforce(6programs); trainingrelatedtoconductedenergyweapons(4); tacticalcommunications(3); law,provincialstatutesandbylaws(3); firearms(2);and officersafety(2).

Legalstudies Trafficviolatorbehaviour

Trainingprogramsareofcourseconfigureddifferentlyfromoneorganizationtoanother,and whatisincludedinonecourseinoneacademymightnotbeincludedelsewhereinanother programatanotheracademy.Thus,thebestestimateoftotaltrainingrelatedtomentalillness mightbeobtainedbysummingthenumberofhoursspentonthetopicbothdirectlyand indirectlythroughothercourses.Thisapproachsuggeststhatthetotalnumberofhoursvaries from5to30. However,itisalsoworthnotingthatasimpletallyofthenumberofhoursinvolveddoesnot necessarilyaccuratelyrepresenttheamountoftrainingthatanewofficerreceives.Thisis particularlythecaseinacademiesinwhichtrainingdeviatesfromthetypicalacademicformat thatisusedinmostcases.ThenumberofhoursprovidedinQuebecforexampleisvariableand difficulttodetermine.LcoleNationaleexpectsthatthistypeofeducationisprovidedinthe CEGEPprograms.Itlogicallycorrespondswithanumberoftherequiredcompetenciesincluding interactionwithdistinctiveclienteles,adaptingtheprinciplesandbasictechniquesof communicationtothecontext,andworkinginpartnershipwithdifferentcommunity resources. 4 However,therearenocompetenciesthatspecificallyaddressinteractionswith PMI. TheRCMPAcademyalsoprovidesaslightlydifferentapproachinthatitemploysanintegrated, problembasedlearning(PBL)methodologyinthedesignofthecurriculumfortheCadet TrainingProgram.InthePBLcurriculum,cadetslearnbysolvingproblemsthroughresearch andinformationgathering,andgroupproblemsolvingexercisessupplementedbylecture and/ordemonstrationperformance,asappropriate.Casestudiesprovidelearning opportunitiesinwhichcadetscanintegratetheknowledgeandskillsnecessarytomanagereal policesituationsinamannerconsistentwiththedirectionsandprioritiesoftheRCMP.Rather
4

Thisisnotanexhaustivelistoftherelevantcompetenciesbutratherprovidesasampleoftheareasinwhichthe subjectofmentalillnessmaybecovered

10

thanbeinginstructedonaparticularcontentarea,cadetslearntoapplyallcontentareas relatedtoaparticulartypeofincidentorsituation.Thus,whiletherearefourhoursofspecific contentrelatedtomentalillnessinthetraining,therearemanyotherhoursintegratedintothe scenarios.Forexample,cadetsmustworktheirwaythroughacaseinvolvingasuicidalclientin essentiallyrealtime. AsisthecaseinQuebec,therearenospecificcompetenciesidentifiedbytheRCMPAcademy thatarespecifictomentalillness.Therearehoweveranumberofcompetenciesthatmaywell reflectknowledgeandskillsinthisareaforexample: respondingsensitivelyto,andworkinginpartnershipwith,diverse citizensandcommunities; demonstratinganunderstandingof,andsensitivity,todifferencesin handlingdiversesituationsand/orinteractingwithpeople;and usingacalm,reasonable,supportiveapproachtodemonstrate sensitivitytothepsychologicalstateofvictim. 5 3. Whattechniquesareusedtoteachthematerialdescribedabove?
5

Ofthe14institutionsthatrespondedandprovidebasictraining, thirteenusealectureformat(oneiscompletelyonline); sixemployroleplays; eightusesimulations; fourincorporateonlinematerial; twohavepeoplewithmentalillnessesinvolvedinthetraining; eighthavepresentationsbymentalhealthprofessionals; fivehavepresentationsbymentalhealthorganizationssuchastheSchizophrenia Society,theCanadianMentalHealthAssociationorlocalmentalhealthagencies;and fiveutilizevideosorfilms.

Similarly,thisisnotanexhaustivelistoftheareasincurriculuminwhichmentalillnessmaybeaddressed

11

4. Forhowmanyyearshavepoliceservicesbeenincludingthissubjectmatterintheir basictraining? Itisapparentfromthestudythatanumberofpoliceacademieshavebeenofferingsome traininginthisareasincethelate1970sbutinothercasestrainingwasinitiatedasrecentlyas 2005.Specifically, fiveservicesofferedsuchtrainingpriorto1990; threebegantraininginthe1990s;and fivehavebeentraininginthisareasince2000orlater.

(ThecentralizedAlbertaSolicitorGeneralprogramisnotyetoperationalandasnotedearlier willlikelyreplaceotherAlbertabasedtraining). 5.Whatspecificallyisincludedinthecontentofthiscoursework? Giventhattheamountoftimespecificallydevotedtothistopicvariesfromoneto24hoursand totaltrainingvariesfromfiveto30hours,itcanreasonablybeconcludedthatthereisa substantialvariationincontent.Sincecourseoutlineswerenotprovidedbyallacademies,each wasaskedtoidentifywhetherthetopicsmentionedearlierinthispaperaskeycomponentsof trainingwereaddressedintheirtraining. Respondentswereprovidedwithalistoftopicsandaskedwhethertheyprovided (a)thoroughordetailedcoverageofthetopic, (b)somelimitedcoverage,or (c)thetopicisnotaddressedatall. Resultsindicatehowmanyacademiesaddresseachofthefollowingareas(11academies providedenoughinformationtobeincludedinthispartoftheanalysis). thestigmaofmentalillness a.7 12

b.4 recognizingthesignsandsymptomsofmentalillness a.8 b.3 understandingmajorpsychiatricdisorderssuchasschizophrenia,bipolardisorder, Alzheimersdisease a.7 b.4 verbalcommunicationstrategiesforinteractingwithpeoplewithmentalillnesses a.11 mentalillnessanddangerousness a.8 b.2 c.1 dealingwithaggressioninpeoplewithmentalillness a.9 b.1 c.1 interactingwithpeoplewhoarehallucinatingordelusional a.8 b.2 c.1 effectiverelationshipswiththementalhealthsystem a.5 b.3 c.3 effectiverelationshipswiththeemergencyroom(asrelatestopeoplewithmental illnesses) a.4 b.4 c.2 suicideinterventions a.10 c.1

13

apprehensionsunderamentalhealthact a.8 b.2 c.1 useofforceandalternativeswithpeoplewithmentalillnesses a.8 b.3 mentalhealthlaw a.8 b.2 c.1 mentaldisorderprovisionsundertheCriminalCode(e.g.NCR,fitnessetc) a.6 b.4 c.1 specialpoliceprogramsandservicesforpeoplewithmentalillnesses a.4 b.7 victimprecipitatedhomicide(AKAsuicidebycop) a.8 b.2 c.1 workingwithfamiliesofpeoplewithmentalillnesses a.3 b.6 c.1 exciteddelirium a.9 b.2 incidentmanagementwhenapersonwithamentalillnessisinvolved a.5 b.3 c.3

14

Itisdifficulttodrawconclusionsfromthesedataastheyaresubjectiveandthenumberof academies/collegesistoosmalltowarrantanystatisticalanalyses.Notwithstandingthe demandsforawiderangeoftrainingandeducationintotalfornewpoliceofficersand consequenttimedemandsonthebasictrainingcurriculum,itappearsthatpoliceacademies (andthuspoliceservices)haveverydifferentideasaboutwhatisadequateorextensive coverageforaddressingpoliceandtheirinteractionswithPMI.Forinstance,somepolice academiesthatincludemanyhoursofpolice/mentalhealthtrainingindicatedtheyhadonly limitedcoverageofagiventopicwhileotherswhohadveryfewhoursindicatedextensive coverageofmanytopics.Surprisingly,oneacademywhichprovidesamongthefewesthoursof trainingintotalindicatedthatitcoveredallofthesetopicsinsomedetail! However,eventakingtheselimitationsintoconsideration,thesedatadoprovideuswithsome usefulinformation.Theytelluswhichtopicsaregenerallyrecognizedbyacademiesas essential.Forexample,virtuallyallprogramsaddressverbalstrategies,dealingwithaggression andsuicide.Mostalsocoverthebasicsofsymptomologysuchasexciteddelirium,mental healthlaw,dangerousnessanduseofforceoptions.However,thedataalsoindicatethatin somecases,thereislimitedcoverageandthusunderstandingoftheissuesasitissimplynot possibletocoverthesetopicsinthetimesreported. Discussion Atpresent,accordingtothisstudyallpoliceacademiesinCanadathatprovidebasicpolice officertrainingdeliveratleastaminimalintroductiontoissuesrelatedtoworkingwithpeople withmentalillnesses.Includingcontentrelatedtopeoplewithmentalillnessesinthebasic trainingcurriculum,regardlessofthelengthandcontent,helpstosendaclearmessageto officersintrainingthatthisisindeedanintegralandimportantpartofpolicework.While todaythismayseemobvious,anecdotallyasrecentlyastheearly2000sthereremained significantdebateaboutwhetherworkingwithpeoplewithmentalillnesses(PMI)waseven appropriatelyconsideredaspartofapoliceofficersrole.Itappearsthatquestionhaslikely beenputtorest.

15

However,mostofficerswillhavehadfewerthan10hoursoftraining/educationwhileatpolice academyfortheirbasictraining,andmanyofthosewhobegantheircareersbefore2000will nothavehadthistrainingatallwhiletheywereatthepoliceacademy.Whilesomeacademies havebeenincludingsuchtrainingintheircurriculumsince1974,fewerthanhalfweredoingso eventenyearsago. Asnoted,thenumberofhoursoftrainingthatareprovidedisvariable.Insomecases,the inclusionisbrief,lastingonlyafewhoursorevenless.Whilethatmightbeasufficientperiod oftimetobegintosensitizenewofficerstothefactthatsomeofthepeopletheyinteractwith mighthaveamentalillness,itislikelyinsufficienttoteachthespecificskillsnecessarytobe effective,norsufficienttoaddresstheessentialissuesofstigma,biasandpersonalattitudes. Howmanyhoursisenough?Thereisnoempiricallybasedanswertothatquestion.Thereisno researchthatindicateswhetheradditionaltraining/educationleadstobetteroutcomesinthis areaandindeeditwouldbenavetosuggestthatthereissuchadirectlinkbetweenhoursof trainingandspecificskills.However,policeacademiesdohaveanobligationtoprovide essentialknowledgeandskills,sothequestionbecomes:howlongwouldittaketoadequately covertheessentialareasandwhataretheessentialareas? Itisinformativetolookattheindustrystandardoftrainingforprogramssuchasmental healthCrisisInterventionTeams. 6 Theseprogramsaretypically40hoursinduration,and producewhatareconsideredspecializedofficerswithexpertiseinmentalhealthrelated issues.Ithasbeenarguedthatifapoliceserviceordetachmentdoesnothavespecially designatedandtrainedofficersavailableasaresource,thenALLofficersneedahigherlevelof traininginthisarea.Whileitappearsunrealistictoexpectanacademytoprovideafull40 hoursatthebasicintroductorylevel,itdoesmeanthatacademiesmightalsoneedtotakeinto
6

TheCITmodel,oftencalledtheMemphismodel,involvesapoliceservicehavingacomplementofhighlytrained specialistofficerswhoactasaresourcetootherofficers,attendmanymentalhealthrelatedcalls,andliaisewith thementalhealthsystem.

16

considerationthegeographicalareasinwhichtheirofficerswilleventuallypolicewhen consideringtheappropriateamountoftraining.Forexample,itmeansthatservicessuchasthe RCMPandOPP,whichprovidepolicingtomanysmallerandremoteareaswithlittleintheway ofcommunityresources,mighthavetoprovidemoretrainingthanperhapsEdmontonwhere dedicatedmentalhealthteamsandspecializedservicesareavailable.Manyservicesrelyon provincialorregionalacademiesandthusthespecifictrainingmaynotbeentirelyadequatefor localpurposes.ThesituationinBritishColumbiaexemplifiesthat. IfthedataintherecentLostinTransitionstudyarereliedon,onemightsurmisethatthe VancouverPolicespendmoretimewithpeoplewithmentalillnessesthanwouldsomeother policeinBCorelsewhere.Thus,forexample,VancouverPolicemightneedtosupplementthe basicJIBCtraining,evenatthenewofficerlevel. Whilecontentisofcourseimportant,soisthemethodoftransferringknowledge.Withthe exceptionofonecourse(notyetinoperation),alltrainingreportedincludesalargelecture component.Inafewinstances,alltheteachingisdeliveredinalectureformat.Thisisof coursenotideal,asadultlearningprincipleswouldsuggestthatskillsarenotbesttaughtor assessedthroughthismedium.Trainingatmostacademiesincludessomeroleplayor simulationbutatfiveacademies,thisisnotthecase.Itisalsoapparentthatfewacademies (onlyfour)aremakinguseofonlineresources.Similarly,onlyfiveacademiesmakeuseoffilms orvideostosupplementtraining.Again,giventhewealthofresourcesavailable,thisis unfortunate.AttheoppositeextremeistheRCMPAcademywhichincludesrelativelylittle formallecturematerialinthisareabutreliesheavilyonproblembasedlearning(PBL)andthe useofrealtimescenarios. However,probablythemostglaringgapintrainingandeducationnationallyisthatonlytwo academiesinvolveapersonindeliveryoftheirtrainingwhoactuallyhasamentalillness.The researchliteratureindicatesthatexposuretoapersonwithamentalillnessisprobablythe mostpowerfultoolavailableforchangingattitudestowardmentalillness.Whileitisbeyond

17

thescopeofthisstudytoexaminethisindetail,itisalsoworthnotingthattheexclusionofthe verypeoplewhoarerecipientsofthepoliceinteractionsbeingtaughtiscontrarytoboth contemporarypolicingmodelsandcurrentmentalhealthtreatmentmodels.Inclusionof peoplewithmentalillnessesinthetrainingdeliverynotonlyprovidesaricheducationtothe policeofficersbutalsosendsamessagetothoseindividualsandagenciesinthecommunity whoworkwithpeoplewithmentalillnessesthatpoliceareactivelyinvolvedinthisareaand workingfromacommunityintegrationmodel. Notsurprisingly,manyacademiesalsodonotincludeeithermentalhealthagenciesormental healthprofessionalsintheirtraining(fiveof14havepresentationsbymentalhealthagencies; eightof14includementalhealthprofessionals).Theissueofincludingmentalhealthagencies iscomplex.Ifoneacceptsthecontentionthatoneofthepurposesoftraininginthisareaisto improvecoordinationandcooperationbetweenpoliceagenciesandmentalhealthsystems, thenitisessentialthatnewofficershaveachancetointeractwithmentalhealthprofessionals andseetheminaconstructivelight.(Formanypoliceofficers,theironlyreallifeexposureto amentalhealthprofessionalwillbeinthecontextofapreemploymentpsychologicalscreening hardlyacontextthatengenderspositivefeelings.Otherwise,they,likethepublic,may associatementalhealthprofessionalswithwhitecoats,butterflynetsandcouchesobviously agrosslyinaccuratepicture.) Fromapositiveperspective,thereseemstobeconsensuswithrespecttothemostimportant areasthatneedtobecoveredintraining.Asnotedearlier,mostprogramsaddressverbal strategies,suicidalideationandissuesrelatedtosignsandsymptoms.Howevernotall programscovertheseareas.Ifoneacceptsthetenetthatbeingabletorecognizewhena personhasamentalillnessisimportantifnotessential,thenitisconcerningthatsome programsdonotaddresssymptoms,introducethemajordiagnosticcategoriesortalkabout howtointeractwithapersonexperiencingpsychoticsymptoms.

18

BestPractices/EmergingTrends Unfortunately,thereisnotyetanyempiricallysupportablewaytodefineabestpracticeor determinewhatmethodsofinstructionaremosteffectiveinthecontextofpoliceandtheir interactionwithPMI.Buttheinformationgleanedinthepresentstudydoeshighlightsome processeswhichatleasthavethepotentialofleadingtheway.Theseinclude: EdmontonPoliceService Edmontonappearstoprovidethemosthoursoftraining/education,whichisa24hourcourse. Itisalsolinkedandincludespresentationsbytheirpoliceservicesmentalhealthjointresponse teamstodevelopfamiliaritywiththoseservices. RoyalNewfoundlandConstabulary(RNC) TheRNCprovides16hoursofdirectbasictrainingandincludesnotonlylecturesandroleplays, butalsoincludespresentationsbyPMI,mentalhealthprofessionalsandmentalhealth organizations.Inaddition,theirprogramislinkedwiththePoliceStudiesProgramatMemorial Universitywherestudentswillhavecompletedatotaloffourpsychologycourses(including forensicpsychologyandabnormalpsychology).Inaddition,furtheralongintheirtraining, cadetscompleteASIST 7 suicideinterventiontraining(2days),onedayrelatedtofetalalcohol spectrumdisordersand2daysofaseminarentitledChangingMinds.Recently,newofficers havealsocompletedtheonlinetrainingmoduleofferedbytheCanadianPoliceKnowledge Network. 8 ItmaybethattheRNCiscurrentlysettingthestandardinthisarea. AtlanticPoliceAcademy(APA) Inadditiontoprovidingagenerallycomprehensivecurriculumof18hourswhichincludesa varietyofformatsincludinglecture,roleplays,andextensiveuseofvariousmedia,this programincludesbothpeoplewithmentalillnessesandmentalhealthprofessionals.Thereis

ASISTistheacronymforAppliedSuicideInterventionSkillsTraining,awelldevelopedandwidelyusedapproach toteachingskillsrelatedtoworkingwithsuicidalpeople. 8 Thisisa2hourcoursedevelopedbytheDalhousieUniversityDepartmentofPsychiatryandentitledRecognition ofEmotionallyDisturbedPersons

19

alsoauniqueempathylabcomponentwhichrequirestheofficerstospendtimeinthe communityatasocialserviceagencyandthusinteractwithpeoplewithmentalillnessesina realworldsituation. OntarioPoliceCollege(OPC) OPChasdevelopedprobablythemostcomprehensivewrittenmaterialonworkingwithPMI (Notjustanothercall),whichprovidesofficerswithareadyresourcebothwhileatthe academyandlaterintheirwork. JusticeInstituteofBritishColumbia(JIBC) PIIMIC 9 throughtheJIBCwebsiteisacomprehensiveonlinesourceofinformationabout mentalillness,legislationandrelatedmatters. Alberta ItisalsoworthnotingthesubstantialworkcompletedbytheOfficeoftheAlbertaSolicitor General,whichincludesanoutstandingonlinecourse.However,itisnotyetoperationalandas ofyetisnotpartofanybasicpoliceofficerleveltraining. Futuredirections Theinformationabovelargelydescribesthesituationasitiscurrently.Thisinevitablyleadsto thequestionofwherethingsshouldbegoing.Therearemanyideasthatemergefromthedata andtheyarepresentedherefordiscussionpurposes. Policeacademiesmaywanttostriveforthetypeofcomprehensivetrainingthatis currentlyofferedbytheRNCandtheAtlanticPoliceAcademywhichincludesnot only1618hoursofdirectbasictrainingrelatedtoworkingwithpeoplewithmental illnesses,butalsoincludesavarietyoflearningmediums,directcontactwithboth peoplewithmentalillnessesandmentalhealthprofessionals.
9

PIIMICstandsforPoliceInterventionInMentalIllnessCrisis

20

TheCACPHumanResourcesCommittee,throughitssubcommitteeCanadian AssociationofPoliceEducators(CAPE),maywanttoconsiderworkingwithpolice academiestodeveloporencourageacommoncorecurriculumincludingreading lists,andonlinematerialstomakeuseofsomeofthemanyoutstandingresources thathavebeendevelopedandavoidduplicationofefforts. Thereisgeneralacceptancethatinformationrelatedtomentalillnessisbest coveredwhenitisintegratedinmultipletrainingcourses,seminarsormodules. Thesehourscouldbedistributedbetweenfocusedsessionsdealingexclusivelywith mentalillness,orincorporatedintoothercoursework(e.g.useofforce,provincial statutes)aswellasbeingthesubjectofproblembasedlearningexperiences(PBL). Italsoseemsappropriatethatthecurriculumshould,ataminimum,addressthe rangeoftopicsdescribedearlierinthispaper,sincevirtuallyallofthesetopicsare eithertacitlyendorsedbythemajorityofacademiesorhavebeenidentifiedin Coroners/MedicalExaminersreportsasbeingrelevant. Policeagenciesorpoliceacademieswhichrelyonexternalprerequisitetraining outsidetheiracademysuchasisthesituationinQuebecmaywanttoensure thattrainingrelatedtoworkingwithPMIisspecificallyidentifiedinexternalcourse contentandidentifiedasaspecificcompetencetoavoidthepossibilityof inconsistencyfromoneprogramtoanother. Similarly,academieswhichtakeamorecompetencybasedandproblemfocused approachsuchastheRCMPAcademymaywanttodevelopgoalsandcompetencies whichspecificallyidentifyissuesrelatedtoworkingwithpeoplewithmentalillness toensurethatalltheprimarygoalsrelatedtothisclientgroupareindeedcovered.

21

Alltrainingprogramsshouldideallyincludepresentationsby,andinteractionswith, peoplewhoareactuallylivingwithamentalillnessandtheirfamiliesaswellas presentationsbymentalhealthprofessionals.

Individualpoliceservicesmaywanttopayspecialattentiontothedegreeand natureoftrainingprovidedbytheirrespectiveacademiessothatitcanbe supplementedasnecessarybytheirpoliceservice(e.g.policeofficerswhoare trainedprovinciallyregionallyornationallywillnothavelearnedaboutlocal resourcesorinteragencyagreements)Policeserviceswhichrelyoncentralized trainingas(opposedtoinhousetraining)shouldbewellacquaintedwiththenature andextentoftherelevantacademystraininginthisareasothatappropriate additionaltrainingcanbeprovidedlocallyonceacademytrainingiscomplete. Individualpoliceservicesmayalsowanttoreviewthetrainingoftheircurrent complementofofficersbearinginmindtheyearinwhichtheirrespectiveacademy beganthistrainingandensurethatofficerswhodidnotreceiveacademylevel traininghaveindeedreceivedtrainingspecifictothisareasincethattime. Considerationmightbegiventoprovidingadditionalspecializedtrainingtoofficers beforebeingpostedtoremoteareas.Policeservicesinwhichasignificant percentageofofficersarepostedtoremoteareasmaywanttoincreasethenumber ofhoursprovidedatthebasictraininglevelinordertoaccommodatethis. Afinalthought Thisreviewonlyaddressestrainingandeducationwhichoccursattheacademy/collegelevel. Obviously,learningonlystartsthereandtheissueofwhatongoingeducationandlearning occursastheofficeradvancesisequallyimportant.Ideally,apoliceservicescurriculumrelated tounderstandingmentalillnesswilltakeintoaccountboththetrainingandeducationthatthe newofficerreceivesattheacademy,andthetrainingopportunitiesthatariseonces/heison

22

theroad.Thisreportdoesnotaddressinservicetrainingdirectly, 10 butdoesacknowledge thatitisanequallyimportantpartofthelearningprocess,andthatacademylearningneedsto bedevelopedbearinginmindthenatureandextentoffuturelearningopportunities.Indeed,it canbearguedthatfewnewofficerscomeintopolicingwiththeexpectationofdealing extensivelywithpeoplewithmentalillnesses,andthatoverexposuretothetopicmight actuallyhaveanegativeratherthanpositiveeffectonnewofficers.Inanidealworld,basic trainingwouldbelinkeddirectlytoongoinginserviceeducation,whichmightprovidejunior officerswiththeskillstheyneedinthisareaatatimewhentheyaremostlikelytoappreciate them. Forfurtherinformationorinquiriesaboutthissurvey,theauthorsmaybecontactedat info@pmhl.ca Weextendsincereappreciationtothestaffateachpoliceacademyandpolicecollegewhotook thetimetorespondmorethanoncetoourinquiriesaboutthenatureandextentofthe training/educationtheydeliverinthisarea.

10

IssuesrelatedtoinserviceandadvancedpatroltrainingrelatedtoPMIwillbethesubjectofafuturereport.

23

References BellevillePoliceService.(2007).PoliceInteractionswithEmotionalDisturbed/MentallyIll People:AComprehensiveReviewandAnalysis.Belleville,Ontario:BellevillePolice Service. CanadianMentalHealthAssociation,BritishColumbiaDivision.(n.d.)MentalHealthandthe CriminalJusticeSystem.Retrievedfromhttp://www.cmha.bc.ca/advocacy/justice October,2008. Coleman, T. & Cotton, D. (2005). A Study of Fatal Interactions between Canadian Police and Mentally Ill Persons. Presented at the International Association of Law and Mental HealthConference,Paris,France. Cotton,D.(2004).TheattitudesofCanadianpoliceofficerstowardthementallyill. InternationalJournalofLawandMentalHealth,27,135146. Hartford,K.,Heslop,L.,Stitt,L.&Hoch,J.(2005).Designofanalgorithmtoidentifypersons withmentalillnessinapoliceadministrativedatabase.InternationalJournalofLawand Psychiatry28,111. Hoffman,R.&Putman,L.(2004).NotJustAnotherCall...PoliceResponsetoPersonswith MentalIllnesses.AlymerWest,Ontario:OntarioPoliceCollege WilsonBates,F.(2008).LostinTransition:howalackofcapacityinthementalhealthsystemis failingVancouversmentallyillanddrainingpolicingresources.Vancouver,British Columbia:VancouverPoliceDepartment.

24