INDIANAPOLIS – City leaders in Indianapolis are planning to reinvest in a team of experts to respond to certain situations with police officers that involve a person struggling with mental health.
Indianapolis already has MCAT, which is a team of nine trained police officers and mental health clinicians who already respond to mental health crisis.
Mayor Joe Hogsett, on Thursday, announced a new initiative that would essentially expand on MCAT, since MCAT alone is not cutting it since it is not a 24/7 operating unit.
“The truth is, we can no longer afford, as a community, to simply lock up those who are struggling with mental health or diagnosed mental illness,” Hogsett said.
The proposal calls for $2 million to be approved by city leaders to roll out a plan similar to that of one in Denver, Colorado, which is where Faith in Indiana leaders were a few weeks ago to understand Denver’s Support Team Assisted Response program (STAR program).
“This is the cutting edge of public safety,” said Benjamin Tapper with Faith in Indiana. “We are so excited to be at the table helping bring it to life.”
Tapper said that the push for a newer and better mental health response unit came after the death of Herman Whitfield III, who died in police custody after being tased but officers trying to subdue him. Whitfield was having a mental health episode during the incident.
The Indianapolis city-county council is expected to approve the proposal at their next meeting in October.