BALTIMORE — Baltimore City is looking to improve how they handle mental health crisis.
This year there has been several high profile tragedies involving police and mental health crisis.
On Tuesday they rolled out their comprehensive plan required under the Federal Consent decree and people from around the city got the chance to give feedback.
In August, BPD released body camera footage of an officer involved shooting where 40-year-old Marcus Martin was shot and killed. And in July 2020, police released the incident that lead to Ricky Walker Jr. being shot.
Two men killed by police while having a mental health crisis.
The question many have is what could have been differently to come to a different result.
“There’s a lot of hurt people and people that really need help,” said Monica Cooper. “That stuff is just translating into anger, frustration, murder and what have you.”
“People who are seriously and persistently mentally ill having repeated contact with the criminal justice system and finding not only long term housing but short term housing,” said Fabienne Dorceus.
One of the sections of the consent decree looks at improving crisis response in the city.
The city is rolling out their plan and wanted to hear from people in the city through a public lead work group to get feedback on their plan.
“I’m excited to get this feedback and continue to work with the city and police on how we make change in the behavioral health system,” said Crista Taylor with Behavioral Health Systems Baltimore. “Implementation of these recommendations provides an opportunity to transform the behavioral health landscape in Baltimore City.”
They did a day long training for all dispatchers focused on de-escalation and mental illness.
The Baltimore Police Department has started three 40 hour training sessions for all BPD Personnel in crisis intervention.
“All those polices went into effect in June of 2021. Most of that was due to the behavioral health training that all sworn officers received through our training process,” said Maj. Derek Loeffler with Baltimore City Police.
The group broke up into four groups the 9-1-1 diversion and mobile crisis team, crisis services and system integration, peer supports, and social determinants.
Many of the participants say the work needs to be done long before the crisis happens.
“What tends to happen is once he gets so frustrated and so overloaded he ends up committing a crime and ends up in the juvenile justice system,” said Cooper.
A Second draft of plan will be released in a few weeks after they look at the comments and feedback from tonight.
To read the entire report click here.