Baltimore Police annnounces new crisis response team for behavioral concerns

Non-violent approach to deal with mental crises
Posted at 11:43 AM, Jul 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-28 07:13:02-04
It was in March of 2012 that an officer answered a call from a home on West Cold Spring Lane of a man armed with a knife that was about to do something crazy.”
"I heard in go boom... like that, and then all hell broke loose with the police cars and all that," a woman told us who lived directly across the street.
It proved to be the sound of an officer firing his service weapon with deadly accuracy.
"They approached the front door of the home and found a man armed with what appeared to be a knifelike object,” a former Baltimore City Police spokesman explained at the time. “After a confrontation, the individual was shot multiple times."
In a scathing review of the department's practices, the Justice Department cited a case eerily similar to that one while criticizing police in Baltimore for a history of unnecessarily violent confrontations with people suffering from mental crises.
"Unfortunately, our profession has always and probably always will deal with people on their very worst day and people who are experiencing a crisis in their lives, and we need to do that better," said Police Commissioner Kevin Davis as he announced a pilot program on Thursday pairing officers with social workers in the Central District.
Over the last six weeks, the crisis response teams, as they're called, have responded to 85 separate calls, primarily for people who are suicidal.
"I'm able to see, 'Okay, wow, there's a lot of stuff about policing  that I didn't know and maybe made assumptions about,” said Crisis Response Team Clinician Morgan Gregg. “And they're able to kind of see from my perspective this isn't just some crazy person that needs to be taken hold of."
Some of the people ended up going to the hospital for evaluation, none of them went to jail and all of them survived what can become deadly encounters when police respond to a situation they were never prepared for. 
"You take a situation that should be handled at one level and it just suddenly blows up and all too often, you have a deadly use of force scenario or you have another use of force scenario on your scene that garners national attention," said Davis.
Social workers say the program also allows them to follow up with mental patients at their homes or the hospital so they no longer slip through the cracks after encountering the police.