UCPD completes pledge, reinforcing commitment to successful interactions with people having a mental health crisis

The University of Cincinnati Police Division (UCPD) recently took another step to improve their response to those suffering from mental illness by completing the One Mind Campaign pledge.

“This is a resource for the community because it gives our officers and our dispatchers a better understanding of how to respond to people in a mental health crisis and to help them get to the resources they need,” said Assistant Chief Dudley Smith, who prompted the UCPD to undertake the initiative.

The One Mind Campaign, created by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), requires law enforcement agencies to improve their response during these interactions by implementing required practices in a 12-36 month period to ensure successful future interactions between police officers and persons with mental illness. The practices include:

  • Establish a clearly defined and sustainable partnership with one or more community health organizations.
  • Develop and implement a model policy addressing law enforcement response to people in crisis and/or with mental health issues or disorders.
  • Train and certify 100 percent of sworn officers (and selected non-sworn staff, such as dispatchers) in mental health awareness courses.

“By completing the IACP’s One Mind Campaign pledge, the University of Cincinnati Police Division has shown dedication to improve police response to individuals in crisis due to mental health conditions or developmental disabilities. This commitment to training, policy, and partnerships will develop cross-system responses between law enforcement and mental and behavioral health service delivery partners in order to increase public and officer safety,“ said IACP President Cynthia Renaud.

The completion of this pledge reaffirms the existing commitment that the UCPD already had to providing the best service possible to those in a mental health crisis or with a mental health issue or disorder, Assistant Chief Smith added. In the past few years, two UCPD dispatchers have received awards as a result of their successful interactions with people in a mental health crisis.

“Our response to people in a mental health crisis is something that the UCPD has taken very seriously. We are proud of the work we did prior to starting the process to complete the One Mind pledge, but are grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow during this process,” Assistant Chief Smith said.

The UCPD is one of 45 college or university agencies that have taken the pledge and one of 12 agencies in Ohio. In Hamilton County, the UCPD is one of three, with Blue Ash Police Department and Sharonville Police Department. 

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