The Riley County Police Department has signed onto an initiative aiming to improve their response to calls related to mental health crises.

The One Mind Campaign is a creation of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. It’s an effort to promote coordination and cooperation between police agencies and local mental health organizations.

RCPD Director Dennis Butler says in a release that they are committed to providing the best possible response to citizens in crisis.

“This pledge means that we are publicly committing to work very hard with our partners to prevent people who need mental health treatment from ending up incarcerated or being subjected to force,” Butler says. “Our officers will be better supported and trained to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations.”

As part of the pledge, Butler has promised within 12 to 36 months to train and certify all sworn officers in mental health first aid and provide Crisis Intervention Training to at least 20 percent of all officers. Additionally, they’ll continue to maintain their partnership with Pawnee Mental Health and other organizations and develop and implement a model policy for addressing police response to mentally ill individuals.

Brynne Haverkamp, a co-responder from Pawnee Mental Health and RCPD, says the campaign is another step in helping county residents struggling with mental health and addiction issues.

“The addition of the One Mind Campaign will further support our officers, the mental health providers in the area, and our community as a whole in being better equipped to handle these complex situations,” says Haverkamp.

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