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Keyword: council of state governments justice center

Releases Report by Council of State Governments Justice Center

An independent review of the County’s police responses to people with behavioral health needs found that the County has a strong foundation in place with its Baltimore County Crisis Response System (BCCRS), and its programs and services. The assessment, conducted by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center at the request of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, offers recommendations intended to further improve the County’s practices.

In late 2016, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz asked the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center to conduct an independent assessment of its law enforcement and behavioral health collaboration, the Baltimore County Crisis Response System (BCCRS), which helps the County respond to people who have behavioral health needs. In partnership with the Baltimore County Police Department (BCPD), the Baltimore County Department of Health, and the Affiliated Santé Group—a non-profit behavioral health crisis service provider—the CSG Justice Center reviewed the BCCRS for its effectiveness, comprehensiveness, and adherence to national best practices.

Report Hails Cultural Competence Training

The assessment report outlines positive steps the County has taken toward providing additional training focused on improving the cultural competence of law enforcement officers, and states that the number of hours BCPD spends on these trainings exceeds other jurisdictions with which the CSG Justice Center has worked:

Additional trainings related to implicit bias and cultural competency for all new BCPD recruits on topics such as bias incident, FBI civil rights, and diversity

“Fair Practices” training for new lieutenants and front-line supervisors (i.e., corporals) that focuses on the opportunities, challenges, and values of ensuring diversity in a public safety agency, including its impact on employee morale and the agency’s relationship with the community

“Blue Courage” curriculum training for all sworn BCPD employees (from recruit to the executive level), which explores the importance of respect in policing and public safety

Steps Taken to Better Respond to Individuals with Behavioral Health Needs

The report identifies significant steps County officials have taken to improve BCCRS and BCPD responses to people who have behavioral health needs. These efforts include:

A three-year strategic plan for providing comprehensive mental health and de-escalation training to staff at all levels

An action plan developed by the police department to improve data collection and analysis for BCCRS data and performance indicators

Additional specialized training opportunities provided to officers and clinicians on the Mobile Crisis Team, such as crisis intervention and mental health/first aid training

Crisis Intervention Team training opportunities for 911 dispatchers and other critical first responders in the County

Recommendations for Continuous Improvement

Kamenetz has directed the County’s police chief and health and human services director to respond to the report’s recommendations within 90 days.

“Our police department and health officials remain committed to improving police responses to those with mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders,” said Kamenetz. “This assessment is critical in strengthening our effectiveness, comprehensiveness, and adherence to national best practices.”


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017