Tucson Police Department (TPD) patrol officers are receiving training in behavioral health to learn the best ways to handle mental health crisis calls. About 500 officers are expected to complete the training by the end of the year, said Police Chief Chris Magnus at a news conference yesterday.
TPD already has a Mental Health Support Team, which Magnus said puts the department "ahead of the curve across the country," but he said officers need more training to treat those in crisis.
“One in eight calls to TPD for service involves someone in crisis who needs mental health assistance,” said Magnus. “There is a lot of need out there.”
TPD data shows officers transported 4,060 people in crisis for mental health evaluations and treatment during the 2014-15 fiscal year. Once patrol officers complete the mental health first-aid course, detectives, dispatchers, supervisors, and remaining staff members will undergo the training.