The International Association of Chiefs of Police on Wednesday recognized efforts by Portland Police to meet training standards for how to best interact with people with mental illness.

Portland’s regimen of training, including crisis intervention training for all sworn officers, along with a revised standard procedure related to mental health crisis and the department’s strong relationships with local behavioral health groups, won recognition as part of an IACP campaign to bring up standards nationwide.

The revised policy provides direction for how police should interact with someone in crisis, prioritizing de-escalation, the city said in a statement.

“Given the high frequency of contacts between our officers and those with mental illness, the department remains committed to providing not only a high level of service, but to providing the training and resources necessary to enhance outcomes and the safety of both our community members and our police officers,” Portland Police Chief Frank Clark said in a statement.

The Portland department collaborates with the city’s major hospitals, as well as the Cumberland County Mobile Crisis, and maintains a behavioral health unit to coordinate in-house training and maintain relationships with outside groups, the city said in a statement.

The South Portland Police Department is the only other department in Maine to achieve recognition through the IACP mental health campaign. Four of the state’s roughly 130 other police agencies have taken a pledge to improve their policies and training.


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