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Assemblyman Tom Lackey, alongside Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, requested $15.7 million in funding to train front-line law enforcement officers in the state to better interact with people with mental illnesses.

According to the announcement released Friday by Lackey’s office, there is an increased recognition in California that law enforcement’s engagement with those with mental illnesses can be affected by the adequacy of their training.

“As a 28-year veteran of law enforcement, I understand how difficult it is for officers to safely deal with a person suffering from mental illness,” said Lackey in a statement. “With this funding, families can be confident that police officers have been trained to help identify a mentally ill loved one and react appropriately.”

The funding, administered by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, would provide a minimum of 15 hours of training to all 72,000 California front-line police officers.

A Los Angeles Police Department study from 2015 showed that more than one-third of those who were shot by LAPD officers showed signs of mental illness.

According to the statement by Lackey’s office, one out of every 20 people in California has a mental illness.
On Twitter as @ginaender


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Gina Ender
Gina Ender is a journalist covering city government and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in February 2017.
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  • Ronald Williams

    How about we send specialists out to deal with the mentally ill on the street and not try to have our police officers pretend to be doctors.

    • Ron Bischof

      It’s a nice theory but how would that work out in practice?

      1. 911 call from frantic citizen threatened with assault.
      2. Dispatcher: Please perform this quick analysis checklist so the appropriate resource can be dispatched.

      The reality is law enforcement are the default dispatch for aberrant behavior. They’re likely the best option for additional training.

      • Ronald Williams

        Nice theory, but the article didn’t mention anything about citizen being threatened with assault.

        • Ron Bischof

          Because mentally ill people never commit assault, right? But police officers “pretend to be doctors” all the time, eh?

          Care to address my point about first responders?