Minneapolis Police Department to partner with mental health professionals in new pilot program

The program is set to launch early next year

by Layna Darling

With a new program set to launch early next year, mental health professionals will ride along with Minneapolis Police Department officers for calls involving people with mental illnesses, reports the Star Tribune.

Officials say the program is meant to facilitate peaceful resolutions and decrease physical encounters and jail time, the Star Tribune reported. The project mirrors the efforts of other departments like St. Paul, which announced its co-responder program earlier this year.

The new approach is the latest change in how the department plans to handle mental health cases. City police currently participate in a 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) course. The course, which roughly half of the department’s 829 officers have completed, teaches officers how to deescalate situations and avoid violent encounters, according to the Star Tribune.

In July, the Minneapolis City Council approved a contract with the Minnesota Crisis Intervention Team Officer’s Association to give 500 more MPD officers the CIT course.