Remember back a few weeks when I laughed at the McHenry County Sheriff’s Police for having gained “triple crown” accreditation? The gist of my mockery was that the MCSP were in the newspaper talking about how they had received the “Ivy League” of police certifications. Meanwhile, another department that was part of this “elite” club had recently killed a man with Down’s Syndrome at a movie theater because he was having a bit of an episode and wouldn’t leave.
Of course the “Ivy Leave” of police accreditation
pulled it’s certification of that department did absolutely nothing because, well, there is really no correlation between killing people who shouldn’t die and patting each other on the back.
Then there was that 95 year old Park Forest man who the police killed. He was about to be involuntarily commit and wasn’t thinking right. They used the taser on him. And, as things tend to go with the frail, a taser that wouldn’t have killed you (but sometimes actually might) did kill him.
I’m not saying that the incident with the man with Down’s Syndrome or the crabby 95 year old man were easy incidents to deal with. Underneath the sarcastic babbling in my posts on those, though, was the idea that modern policing models really aren’t well designed to deal with “the frail.” There’s too much, “Respect my authority” and not enough, “If we wait another half hour, crabby grandpa might calm down.”
So, I was happy to read Joseph Bustos‘ article in the Northwest Herald this morning. It seems that the Algonquin Police Department, who is not “triple crown” accredited, is bringing on additional resources to help with encounters with people who may have mental health issues. In part, it notes:
ALGONQUIN – In order to help increase knowledge when dealing with mental health situations, the Algonquin Police Department and the McHenry County Crisis Program have started a new collaborative effort.
The two entities have partnered with each other to provide reciprocal support for when it comes to encountering people who have potential mental health issues.
The crisis program is run by Centegra Health Systems.
Under the partnership, Centegra will provide police officers with “knowledge, training and resources to deal with the potential danger and crises when dealing with the mentally ill,” Police Chief Russell Laine said in a news release.
“It will also help foster the alliance necessary between law enforcement and mental health agencies to provide much needed services to our community,” Laine added.
I suppose I could use this to point out that, maybe, when I wrote about how poorly many departments handle encounters with the mentally ill and you thought I was just taking cheap shots at the police, that I was actually speaking the truth. Otherwise Algonquin wouldn’t need to do this, right?
I won’t do that. I’ll just thank the APD. I’m genuinely impressed and hope more departments follow in their footsteps.
I will, however, point out again that this shows how silly police accreditation can be, and how you don’t have to be among the “Ivy League” to be good to the people in your jurisdiction.