The Riverside Police Department is pleased to announce that they have pledged to take action in support of the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s One Mind Campaign, with the intent to unite local communities, public safety organizations, and mental health organizations in such a way that the three become “of one mind.”
The One Mind Campaign seeks to ensure successful interactions between police officers and persons with mental illness. To join the campaign, the department has committed to implementing four promising practices over a 12–36 month timeframe. These four strategies include (1) establishing a clearly defined and sustainable partnership with one or more community mental health organization(s), (2) developing and implementing a model policy addressing police response to persons affected by mental illness, (3) training and certifying 100 percent of the agency’s sworn officers in Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety, and (4) providing Crisis Intervention Team training to a minimum of 20 percent of the agency’s sworn officers (and selected non-sworn staff, such as dispatchers.)
Chief Tom Weitzel stated, “As a police agency, we are committed to building strong partnerships and advocating for equitable support for community members living with mental health challenges. The One Mind Campaign, including our training in Mental Health First Aid for Police, helps demonstrate our commitment to those with whom we interact daily. I’m confident there will be a noticeable difference in the community’s response to law enforcement. Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety fosters a greater understanding between police and the community, which translates into fewer violent confrontations and increased overall safety for everyone”.
The Riverside Police Department acknowledges the need to recognize and address recent societal, cultural, and technological changes that impact law enforcement responses to persons with mental illness. The strategies that the department has pledged to adopt create a unique opportunity to form a partnership with mental health organizations in the community. The committed efforts of both law enforcement agencies and the mental health community to reduce officer and civilian fatalities and injuries resulting from encounters between law enforcement officials and persons with mental illness are of critical importance. Pledging to support the One Mind Campaign is the first step towards creating a safer community for all.