Well, this is good news.
A new policy for the Seattle Police Department aims to change how officers handle crisis situations with people who are mentally ill or under the influence. The crisis intervention policy, which takes effect Monday, is part of the city’s federally-mandated police reforms.
A key component calls for officers to de-escalate a situation whenever feasible, in line with standard law enforcement practices.
I hope this has a real change in the interactions with people with mental illness, not just some window dressing for the Feds and the public. The department has been resistant to change, and a new policy alone isn’t going to be enough. The actions of the police will be the final measure.
Still, this new policy will include gathering measurable data, so even with the need to temper it above, I’m also hopeful.