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christine m. west award

2016 Christine M. West Award Winner

The Mental Evaluation Unit -
A Collaboration of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health

This year, FMHAC proudly awards the Christine M. West Award to the Mental Evaluation Unit (MEU), a collaboration between the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH). For over four decades, the LAPD's Mental Evaluation Unit has worked to reduce the potential for violence during police contacts that involve people who suffer from mental illness and to link them with mental health services. In 1993, and in conjunction with LACDMH, Los Angeles was one of the first communities to develop police/mental health co-responder teams, known as the Systemwide Mental Assessment Response Team (SMART). Now the largest of its kind, the program was designed to effectively engage and link persons with a mental illness to appropriate services.

Though SMART was effective, it became obvious that further intervention was needed so, in 2005, the Case Assessment and Management Program (CAMP) was developed to identify, monitor, and engage these individuals and construct a case management approach by pairing LAPD detectives with psychologists, nurses and/or social workers from LACDMH to develop long-term solutions for the individual client's needs.
In the years since, LAPD has also developed a 24-hour/7-day-a-week MEU-Triage Desk to triage all LAPD contacts with persons who suffer from a mental illness and Mental Health Intervention Training (MHIT), a 40-hour course delivered 25 times a year to officers who have the greatest likelihood of interaction with persons who suffer from a mental illness and are in crisis.

LAPD's MEU has received numerous local and national awards for their work in providing humane, cooperative, compassionate, and effective law enforcement response to persons within Los Angeles who are afflicted with mental illness. Their program has become a model for law enforcement agencies throughout the nation and FMHAC is honored to award the Mental Evaluation Unit this year's West Award. Congratulations!


Past West Award Recipients

1993 Robert E. Baldwin, MSSW, and Raul Espinosa, Jr., MHA
1994 Georgette DeBorde, LCSW, and Alisa M. Dunn, LCSW
1995 Timothy P. Meehan, LCSW
1996 Grenda Ernst, LCSW
1997 Melvin E. Hunter, MPA, JD, and Mitchell E. Marquez, LCSW
1998 Carla M. Jacobs and Douglas R. Korpi, PhD
1999 Patricia Butler, RN, and Burt Rein, PhD
2000 Bradford Smith, LCSW, and Jay Adams, PhD
2001 Rolf LaMar, LCSW
2002 Ben Auerbach, MA
2003 Ray Beland, LCSW
2004 Gilbert Abdalian, MFT
2005 Kevin Smith, LCSW
2006 Richard Hayward, PhD
2007 Louis Hodnett, MSW, and Wanda Killion, LCSW
2008 Lynda Frost
2009 Joel Fay, PsyD
2010 Jo Robinson, MFT
2011 Douglas Taylor Smith, LCSW
2012 Candace Kunz-Tao, MFT
2013 Millie Swafford, LCSW, and Kenneth Carabello, MSW
2014 Heather Bowlds, PsyD, and David Polak, LCSW
2015 John Philipsborn, JD
2016 LAPD/LACDMH Mental Evaluation Unit

FMHAC 2008