Law Enforcement Response to Mental Health Crisis Incidents: A Survey of Illinois Police and Sheriff’s Departments

Published: December, 2018

Law enforcement agencies in Illinois and across the country are seeking ways to increase the safety and efficacy of interactions between officers and individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Researchers conducted a statewide survey to learn more about how police and sheriff’s departments respond to mental health crisis incidents. This article describes responding departments’ policies and procedures to handle mental health crises in their jurisdictions and community resources available to help them address individuals’ mental health needs. Researchers found that mental health crises are a main concern of law enforcement in their communities, with a majority of respondents employing a specialized response to handle such incidents. Recommendations for policy and future research are discussed.