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Police Crisis Intervention
A crisis refer to a case, characterized by a precipitating stressor event, a view that an event will lead to distress, and diminished functioning when it is not possible to relieve the distress using known coping resources. Prior studies suggest that studies on crisis intervention started in the late 1940s in reaction to several stressor events. For instance, during the World War people underwent many tribulations, which called for urgent interventions. Owing to this, and many other important crisis there was a need for development of crisis intervention programs (Lamb, Weinberger and Decuir, 2002). The objective of crisis intervention is to increase stabilization, and reduce chaos, or suffering caused by a crisis. It is important to note that crisis intervention happens abruptly meaning that it is not a scheduled or planned activity. Notably, crisis intervention begins with evaluation of the provoking situation, reactions and responses to the situation, and other aspects that influence the situation (James, 2008).
During crisis, the police become the first people who citizens seek solutions from. Police in the globe are responding to a variety of crisis arising from various situations. Although in many cases the police manage to solve crisis without incidents, sometimes police risk death, injury or subsequent death or injury in the involved people. In such cases, there are prolonged negative impacts on the involved persons and the communities. Owing to the various situations that call for police interventions, it is appropriate that police are adequately trained. In most cases insufficient training contributes to police injury and subsequent death, or injury of the involved persons. People with mental problems contribute largely to cases or crisis that calls for urgent police intervention. As for such, specialized training in mental illness and awareness of the mental treatment system is an important aspect in an effort to solve crisis (Puleo and McGlothin, 2007).
The crisis intervention team can comprise of a variety of professionals, but all of who are working closely with the police to help in solving crisis. Some of the professionals that police can collaborate with in times of crisis interventions include advocates, psychologists, consultants, law enforcement, and mental health professionals. Such a team plays an imperative role in enhancing police interactions with individuals and improves the safety of all persons included during a crisis intervention case. Partnerships between the police and the identified professionals have worked well to solve many crisis including suicides. The concept of building a team that includes professionals outside the law enforcement agencies have worked well, and many countries are adopting the approach in an effort to respond and solve crisis effectively (Teller et al., 2006).
An Overview of Crisis Intervention
Owing to several factors, many people with mental incapacities live in the community, an aspect that has contributed to major menaces in the society. On the other hand, the society is not in a position to handle such cases, especially because of the expanding population. Existing community-based crisis intervention approaches, for instance, crisis lines, mobile after-hours mental health teams, and crisis facilities do not have the capacity, owing to limited scope, in the local areas (Puleo and McGlothin, 2007). Therefore, the police are becoming the first people to respond to crisis, include the ones induced by persons with mental issues. Police are carrying out this role without enough resources or support to conduct it appropriately. The outcomes of this are the situations for persons with mental issues include long delays in receiving treatment, violent incidents, unnecessary trauma, and criminalization. Most importantly, the incidents caused by persons with mental issues are by now increasing gradually, and the case scenario provided by this paper is a typical example of such (Brailsford, 2007).
Changes in Models of Policing
Currently, there have been substantial changes in policing styles, for instance, the move towards community policing, which has seen the expansion of the roles of police to include crisis interventions. The mandate of the police consists of provision of protection, and ensures safety. In this case, it is inclusive of the public, and the persons who have caused, or induced the crisis at hand. In addition, the changing roles of police officers, has seen to the integration of problem-solving skills because police face issues in their daily work routine.
The Role of Police in Crisis Intervention
As stated earlier, the police are gradually becoming the center, or their roles are incorporating crisis intervention roles. Therefore, it is apparent that their effort or importance in such cases is significant. The police play an essential role in the provision of protection and safety to the involved parties in the crisis (Brailsford, 2007). They maintain law and order, in order to prevent potential harm to the parties involved, including them. In addition, they apply their skills to establish the cause of the crisis, and act appropriately in solving the issues at hand. Dispatcher police officers help in determining the nature of the crisis, and subsequently dispatch a qualified team to the area to manage the crisis. Most importantly, the police officers provide essential information concerning the crisis, and allows for investigators to prevent such crisis in the future (Lamb, Weinberger and Decuir, 2002).
As a patrol officer in your local city police department, you are dispatched to a call involving a female who is walking down the middle of a busy street. The caller of the initial complaint stated that the female was ranting and yelling at vehicles while tearing at her clothing. You arrive and observe the woman in the street yelling that the in her shirt. She is attempting to remove her shirt by pulling at it. Traffic has ceased to move, so people are angry and have begun honking their horns and yelling out their windows. Pedestrians on the sidewalk have also stopped to stare.
Selection of appropriate officers
In most cases, officers who make up the crisis intervention team, volunteer, but not all officers go through. In reference to the case scenario, officers who qualify to join the team must have proficiency in dealing with persons with mental issues. During the screening activities, there is a review of records of officers to establish whether the officer demonstrates maturity, and judgment in regards to persons with mental issues (Compton, 2008). Some of the important aspects the selecting team looks for are flexibility, empathy, calmness, innovativeness, and willingness to help. The case in reference involves a person with a mental issue, and the selecting team should consider the mental ability of the subsequent officer in the team. Moreover, prior studies suggest that police officers, who have majored in psychology, will have the capacity to handle the case at hand.
Training of appropriate officers
On the other hand, training is crucial for officers deemed capable of handling crisis that involve persons with mental issues. In the case scenario, it is apparent that the next thing the crowd will do is to attack the woman causing menace on the road. Therefore, it is appropriate for the officer's that have proficiency in crowd support, information gathering and backup support. This is the most preferred training for officers who will deal with crisis that suggest mental issues (James, 2008). In addition, the dispatchers will require special training in order to determine and respond to mental issues call. For instance, in the case scenario, the dispatcher should be in a position to establish the type of case presented, and subsequently dispatch the correct team comprised of officers who have proficiency in handling mental issues crisis.
Steps in the Crisis Intervention
Evaluation is a significant step in crisis intervention. The assessment includes both the woman and the motorists in the case, and this is central to the safety of the two parties. In the case, the woman risks potential harm from the motorists because they are stuck on traffic, which has made them angry. Nevertheless, my role is to ensure that no one gets hurt; therefore, I will respond with empathy by getting the woman out of the road, and assigning a traffic officer to relieve the traffic chaos. The woman will be in the hands of the mental health experts, who are part of the crisis intervention team. The experts will show concern for the woman, by comforting her, although she was on the wrong, which is understandable (Compton, 2008).
All these efforts aim at helping the woman, and make her feel cared for, in an attempt to determine the causal factors to the witnessed behavior on the road. In addition, the actions will make her feel supported, putting in mind she was under some mental problems. The mental health experts, together with me will take part in an inclusive talk, which will include the woman and let her participate, as I seek other alternatives. The alternatives include finding people related to the woman, such as friends, or relatives, to ascertain the predisposing factors to the witnessed behavior. This will also help the woman to provide contacts of the fore-mentioned people, for effective assistance.…[continue]
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