Two proposed multimillion-dollar law enforcement training centers are competing for funding at the Legislature. One of these facilities, the $13.2 million Dakota County Safety and Mental Health Alternative Response Training (SMART) Center, would be dedicated to crisis intervention training.
We applaud any and all efforts to properly fund law enforcement and improve officer training. However, this approach doesn’t address the real problem.
For the last six months, we have partnered with the Minnetonka Police Department to develop an innovative police crisis training to meet the new POST Board approved learning objectives in conflict management, mental health crisis response, and community diversity. To do this, we reviewed protocols of all current crisis training and conducted extensive reviews of all studies on evidence-based de-escalation strategies. We went on ride-alongs with patrol officers and sergeants, and interviewed several local police chiefs. We interviewed individuals who have experienced mental health crises and their family members. We also reviewed all crisis call data and police reports in Minnetonka over a one-year period.
Authors: Jillian Peterson and James Densley