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Left alone when the cops go home: evaluating a post-mental health crisis assistance program

Luke Bonkiewicz (Lincoln Police Department, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)
Alan M. Green (Mental Health Association-Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)
Kasey Moyer (Mental Health Association-Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)
Joseph Wright (Lincoln Police Department (ret.), Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 11 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate a police department's Post-Crisis Assistance Program (PCAP) for consumers who experienced a police-abated mental health crisis. The authors analyzed three questions: First, does PCAP reduce a consumer's future mental health calls for service (CFS)? Second, does PCAP reduce a consumer's odds of being arrested? Third, does PCAP reduce the odds of a consumer being taken into emergency protective custody (EPC)?

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use propensity score matching to analyze data from a sample of individuals (n=739) who experienced a police-abated mental health crisis.

Findings

The authors find that PCAP consumers generated fewer mental health CFS, were less likely to be arrested, and were less likely to be taken into EPC than non-PCAP consumers six months following a police-abated mental health crisis.

Research limitations/implications

The research only examined outcomes six months after a mental health crisis. The authors encourage future research to examine whether the benefits of PCAP persist over longer periods of time.

Practical implications

The study demonstrates that partnerships between police departments and local mental health groups can help police officers better serve citizens with mental health conditions.

Originality/Value

To the knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the impact of a PCAP for citizens experiencing police-abated mental health crises.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge Thomas K. Casady for his thoughtful comments, the research assistance Nathan Gay, and the insightful critiques of the two anonymous reviewers.

Citation

Bonkiewicz, L., M. Green, A., Moyer, K. and Wright, J. (2014), "Left alone when the cops go home: evaluating a post-mental health crisis assistance program", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 762-778. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-04-2014-0035

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited