MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA — Interim Chief Todd Fitzgerald is pleased to announce that the Manchester-by-the-Sea Police Department has completed its pledge through the One Mind Campaign to improve its response to those suffering from mental illness.
In October 2017, the Manchester Police Department pledged to join the One Mind Campaign, an initiative that was started by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in an effort to improve the interactions between law enforcement agencies and those with mental illnesses. Departments that pledge to join the campaign are challenged to implement practices within their agency to improve mental health programming, training and procedure within a one to three year time period.
The IACP also provides resources to departments that pledge to join the One Mind Campaign, including a toolkit produced by the Bureau of Justice Assistance with resources for law enforcement agencies looking to partner with mental health providers, a model policy for law enforcement when responding to persons suffering from mental illness, and resources for planning mental health first aid and crisis intervention team program trainings.
“By pledging to this campaign it provided our officers the necessary tools and the ability to take a more proactive approach to helping residents affected by mental illness,” Chief Fitzgerald said.
The Manchester Police Department has implemented several initiatives to improve its mental health relations, including the establishment of a sustainable relationship with Lahey Behavioral Health, the creation and implementation of a model policy to address officers’ interactions with those affected by mental illness and mental health awareness and crisis intervention training for all full-time staff.
Manchester Police Sgt. Stephen Louf and Essex Police Sgt. Paul Francis have also organized and spearheaded the creation of an Overdose Outreach Follow-Up Team, comprised of members from both departments as well as Lahey Behavioral Health professionals and representatives from One Stop, a free prevention and screening service based out of Gloucester. The Overdose Outreach Follow-Up Team will meet with residents who have experienced a recent overdose and offer a variety of treatment options for substance abuse recovery.
“We need to take a proactive approach when dealing with mental illness,” Chief Fitzgerald said. “Even though our yearly numbers are small, if we can make a difference in one person’s life, then I feel that this team has done its job.”
The Manchester Police Department received a certificate of completion for fulfilling the goals of its One Mind Pledge from the IACP in May.