Washington, DC—The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) along with members of the Department of Mental Health today will recognize Sergeant Michael J. Pulliam as the Crisis Intervention Officer of the Year at a ceremony at the First District Station. Sergeant Pulliam is assigned to the Sixth District and is a nine year veteran.
The Crisis Intervention Officer initiative is a partnership between the Department of Mental Health and MPD to strengthen the District’s ability to support people with mental illness who come to the attention of law enforcement but do not meet the threshold for arrest. Officers are trained to recognize the signs of mental illness, determine the most appropriate response, and use de-escalation techniques that build on their skills and training.
In an MPD press release announcing the event, Mayor Vincent C. Gray said, “The work done by Crisis Intervention Officers is crucially important to helping provide assistance to those who deal with mental illness. I salute Sergeant Pulliam for his work which helps make the District a healthier, safer community for all of our residents."
Since the training program began in April 2009, more than 500 patrol officers have been trained as Crisis Intervention Officers. During the week long course, officers learn about available mental health resources, tour community based mental health clinics, and hear directly from consumers of mental health services and family members about their experiences and the effect of stigma associated with mental illness. The DC Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (DC NAMI), an advocacy group for mental health services and treatment, also supports the training.“
A Crisis Intervention Officer is trained in handling incidents involving mental health consumers and is equipped to de-escalate a situation and resolve an encounter in the safest possible manner and in the best interest of those involved,” said Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier.
“This training is proven to increase citizen and officer safety and lead to the most appropriate response for individuals experiencing a psychiatric crisis,” added Steve Baron, Director of the Department of Mental Health.
To access mental health services, a District resident can call the Access Helpline at 1-888-793-4357 seven days a week to talk to a mental health counselor or contact a provider directly from the list of certified providers at http://dmh.dc.gov/providers.