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!