Born and raised in Madison, Hannah Anderson has had her share of experiences providing service to the community. Currently a Mental Health Officer for the West Police District for MPD, Hannah had previously worked as a case manager for the Arc House in Madison for over two years, and served at Oakwood Nursing Home for four years. Hannah graduated from UW-Madison in three years, majoring in Legal Studies, with a certificate in Criminal Justice.
Coming from a family of police officers, Hannah aspired to be a police officer after her first ride along as a freshman in high school. A legacy officer, her uncle was a military police officer, and her cousin is a former MPD officer. Hannah's great grandfather's name can be found on the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial – a monument honoring those who have died in the line of duty.
Amidst the COVID-19 "Safer at Home" initiative, Hannah took time to talk about her experience with the MPD. Starting with the MPD in 2017, Hannah took on her role as Mental Health Officer in February of 2020, where she values the opportunity to get to know people on an individual basis. She adds, "It is also an opportunity for people to recognize me beyond just a uniform, and see me as a person."
Hannah laughs as she is asked about her activities during social distancing. She jokes, "Knitting and cross stitching," which she learned how to do over eight years ago. Being deprived of her local dining hot spots has been a challenge. Unable to narrow her list down to one favorite restaurant, she looks forward to enjoying the likes of Ha Long Bay and Smoky's Club as soon as she is able to do so.
However, by then, it may be hunting season. "I will be turkey hunting for the first time, this year," she excitedly explains, as she has exclusively hunted deer in the past. Until then, her dogs, Halli, Benson, and Eda, keep her active.
We Are the 28: Mental Health Awareness Month
The Mental Health Officer Team is comprised of six Mental Health Officers, a Mental Health Sergeant, and two embedded Law Enforcement Crisis Workers from Journey Mental Health. The composition of the team is critical to the success of Police-Mental Health collaboration.
The work of a Mental Health Officer is both varied and demanding. The Department selects these officers through a competitive process based on their demonstrated qualifications. These include an understanding of various mental disorders and a proven ability to interact with people living with mental health concerns with sensitivity, patience, and compassion; an understanding of mental health system processes and statutes; and the ability to form strong working relationships with partner agencies.
In association with Mental Health Awareness Month, join us throughout May as we recognize and highlight some of the dedicated women of the Mental Health Officer Team.