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US Police Lack Teams to Handle Mentally Unstable People - Advocacy Group

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National Alliance on Mental Illness spokesperson Bob Carolla claims that more than a tenth of police jurisdictions in the United States have crisis intervention teams that help officers handle emotionally or mentally unstable people.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Slightly more than a tenth of police jurisdictions in the United States have crisis intervention teams that help officers handle emotionally or mentally unstable people, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) spokesperson Bob Carolla told Sputnik.

“About 2800 communities have crisis intervention teams (CIT), but that represents only 15 percent of police jurisdictions,” Carolla said on Wednesday.

In 2015, US police has participated in 461 cases of fatal shooting, 123 of which involved mentally or emotionally unstable people, according to a Washington Post report published on Tuesday.

At present, police recruits spend eight hours learning how to approach mentally ill individuals, while devoting about 60 hours of training to handling a firearm, according the nonprofit organization Police Executive Research Forum.

(FILES) In this August 30, 2014 file photo, a photo of Ezell Ford is seen at his funeral service at the First AME Church in Los Angeles - Sputnik International
Charges Urged on Policeman Who Killed Unarmed, Mentally Ill Black Man
Carolla stated US police need to obtain special training to properly react in situations involving mentally unstable people.

He noted that NAMI has been promoting the expansion of crisis intervention teams throughout the United States designed to improve the way officers respond to people going through mental health crisis.

Over the past year, police officers in the United States have been widely criticized for excessive use of force, brutality, racial profiling and killing of mostly unarmed civilians.

In the most recent prominent case, Los Angeles activists urged District Attorney Jackie Lacey to file criminal charges against police officer Sharlton Wampler after an investigation found he shot and killed unarmed African American Ezell Ford who suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

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