I’m a New Orleans police officer trained to respond to calls from people with mental illness. Joining me is our department’s trainer. Ask us anything.
We are Beth Renniff, a New Orleans police officer trained to respond to calls involving people with mental illness, and Cecile Tebo, Director of NOPD's Officer Assistance Program and an expert with decades of experience who trains the officers. Like police departments across most of the United States, NOPD has seen a sharp increase in calls involving people with mental illness as states cut health care services. New Orleans police will field more than 5,000 such calls this year, an average of 15 a day. Yet NOPD is among a minority of law enforcement agencies that have Crisis Intervention Team training, which advocates say helps reduce safety risks for both officers and people who call in need.
The problem, including a story about Beth’s patrols, was reported by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune as part of an investigative series examining Louisiana’s broken mental health care system called ‘A Fragile State.’
Joining us is Jonathan Bullington, the journalist who reported the story. Ask him anything too! We’ll all be responding from u/NOLAnews, and each of us will attach our name to the responses.
READ the NOLA.com story: On the job with a New Orleans police officer specially trained to handle crisis calls