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Mental Illness Training For Chicago Cops

Chicago police officers and 911 dispatchers will receive enhanced training on interacting with people in crisis, particularly those with mental illness, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday.

The city’s public health, fire, police and emergency officials will collect data about mental health incidents to help improve responses. Emanuel also said the city will work with mental health experts and community leaders to improve access to mental health services when individuals come into contact with first responders.

Last month, the mayor asked the Chicago Police Department and the Independent Police Review Authority to review officers’ training to respond to mental health crisis calls in the wake of a Dec. 26 double fatal police shooting that left Quintonio Legrier, 19, dead along with his neighbor, Bettie Jones, 55. IPRA said this week that Legrier called 911 three times before he was shot.

Emanuel said the goal of the new program is to make sure first responders “have the right training, practice, and preparations to de-escalate crisis situations safely and effectively.” Suggestions came from a steering committee of city officials, service providers and mental health experts.