MPD chief plans to announce mental health policy change in 2015

NAMI executive director says more law enforcement training scheduled
MPD chief plans to announce mental health policy change in 2015

The officer-involved shooting in Milwaukee that killed Dontre Hamilton has brought mental health issues back into the conversation.

Hamilton was a diagnosed schizophrenic.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said Monday that mental health issues have become such a big party of daily policing that there will be a policy change next year.

“It has reached such an apex for me personally as the chief of the Madison Police Department that we will be announcing in the first quarter of this year that I’m literally taking five officers from patrol and dedicating one officer in every district to do nothing but pre-emptive, collaborative problem solving with mental illness cases,” Koval said.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Dane County held a crisis intervention training dealing with training police officers and sheriff’s deputies better in September.

Next year its executive director, Bonnie Loughran, said more law enforcement trainings are planned.

“The incidences just reaffirm the need for officers to have options in their training so they understand what it might be like to be a person with mental illness and how they respond,” Loughram said.

NAMI trained 14 officers and deputies in September on how to deal with the mentally ill in a better way.