There should be a lot more of these training programs nation-wide. Sadly, there are not. Why?. The proverbial “budget constraints”. It’s estimated that 7 to 10 percent of all police contact involved some mental health angle. Alameda County has one of the highest percentage of mental health problems in California, and Oakland accounts for much of the county’s burden. http://bit.ly/ohuARE
In addition to learning the danger signs for conditions such as depression and PTSD, which experts say are increasingly common among Oakland teens, the officers also learned about problems that afflict the elderly, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as crisis de-escalation, mental health problems among the homeless and developmental disabilities. One BART officer said he was particularly interested in the threat de-escalation component of the class. BART officers have been involved in two high-profile shooting deaths in the past three years. Many say both deaths could have been avoided if the officers had received better training on de-escalating crisis situations before they get out of hand.