A teamwork initiative between the Albuquerque Police Department and psychiatrists from the University of New Mexico has caught the attention of law enforcement agencies around the state and across the country.
The June issue of the prestigious American Journal of Psychiatry included an article about how the APD’s Crisis Intervention Team and the UNM Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences are working together. The goal is to help police officers better understand how to work with mentally ill people so they can de-escalate stressful situations, avoid sending them to jail and connect them with supportive services.
“I think the fact that the American Journal of Psychiatry took this (article) really talks about the importance that the American Psychiatric Association gives to the collaboration between law enforcement and psychiatry,” said Dr. Mauricio Tohen, professor and chairman of the UNM School of Medicine’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences department.
Representatives from APD and UNM will soon be taking that message to two high-level law enforcement conferences. They will be giving presentations and talks at the International Crisis Intervention Team Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in August and the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia, Pa., in October.