Garner Police Take The ‘One Mind Pledge’

The Garner Police Department has taken the IACP’s One Mind Pledge.

According to the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police), there were about 43.4 million adults in 2015 in the United States living with a mental illness.

Law enforcement officers, with little to no training on dealing with people suffering from mental illness, are on the front lines each and every day dealing with this issue.  In 2016, a collaboration of law enforcement and mental health experts met to discuss ways in which law enforcement could have more successful interactions with persons affected by mental illness.  Out of that collaborative meeting came the One Mind Pledge.

To take the pledge, law enforcement agencies must pledge these four things:

1)  Establish a clearly defined and sustainable relationship with at least one community mental health organization.

2)  Develop and implement a written policy addressing law enforcement response to persons affected by mental illness

3)  Demonstrate that 100 percent of sworn officers (and selected non-sworn staff, such as dispatchers) are trained and certified in Mental Health First Aid

4)  Demonstrate that 20 percent of sworn officers (and selected non-sworn staff, such as dispatchers) are trained and certified on the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training.

“We are proud to partner with IACP for this worthwhile program,” said Chief Brandon Zuidema.  “As one of the original participants in the CIT program in Wake County and North Carolina, we remain committed to ensuring that we support and protect persons suffering from mental illness.  The One Mind Program ensures our staff have the tools and training they need to serve our community.”

The Garner Police Department recognizes the need to address recent societal, cultural, and technological changes that impact law enforcement response to persons with mental illness.  The strategies that the department has pledged to adopt create a unique opportunity to form a partnership with mental health organizations in the community.  The committed efforts to both law enforcement agencies and the mental health community to reduce officer and civilian fatalities and injuries resulting from encounters between law enforcement officials and persons with mental illness are of critical importance.  Pledging to support the One Mind Campaign is the first step towards creating a safer community for all.