Preventing More Murders: State Sen. Says Police Need Training
IMPD is leading the way. Now other communities can get the training
Sep. 07, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.–As the capital city nears 100 people murdered in 2016, many communities across Indiana are looking at ways to prevent high levels of crime from happening. One effort that has been led by Indianapolis Police is preventing crime by getting to the root of the problem.
IMPD has had a crisis intervention unit since 2003. But, other communities are getting money to help their officers detect mental illness in people they encounter.
State Sen. Jim Merritt got a bill passed in the state legislature in 2015 to help train first responders to know what to look for.
“Police officers are almost like half social workers njow,” said Merritt.
“I believe that we need more people knocking on doors and hopefully finding problems so that we’re preventing crime, rather than locking everybody up.”
Merritt said there are already examples of programs that have been working. But, he said that training everyone who may deal with a person with mental illness should have an understanding of what the signs and symptoms are.
“I think all police officers, I think all first responders need to have an understanding of what mental nillnesses we have in our communities.”
Of course, that means money.
“Sending money to the local communities to help pay for this is very important.”
Indianapolis Police have gotten a head start by promoting community engagement. Operation Next Step last week included visiting with homeless people at city intersections to offer assistance, rather than throwing them in jail.