AUGUSTA (WGME) – A Maine task force that reviews police officers’ use of deadly force is calling for expanded access to inpatient mental health care and crisis stabilization.
The task force reviewed 10 fatal police shootings between 2015 and 2016.
The group found that state police are frequently responding to cases of domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health problems. In fact, eight out of 10 cases involved mental health issues.
“This is such an important issue and since 1999, we have been having cases where police have to shoot but oftentimes, not always in these cases, they end up killing the victim. But they have no choice. So I think it is something that we really need to address and not put this on the shelf. We really need to take advantage of what we learned,” said Bill Diamond, a member of the task force.
The group recommended an increased effort to expand access to crisis stabilization and inpatient mental health care. That includes police departments looking for opportunities to work proactively with families who have a member living with mental health or substance abuse issues.
The task force also recommended that officers receive training and education on the benefits of accessing mobile crisis workers locally.