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Chief Koval's Blog

Madison Police Department Recognized as National Leader in Providing Police Services to Persons with Mental Illness

September 9, 2014 10:14 AM

The Madison Police Department has a longstanding commitment to partnering with mental health providers, advocates, and consumers in an effort to improve services to those with mental illness.  The Department's nationally recognized Mental Health Liaison Program uses well-trained patrol officers as first responders complimented by 21 sworn liaisons who provide specialized case management and coordination services in conjunction with mental health providers.  Recently, The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center), with support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), selected the Madison Police Department to participate in their newly-developed Law Enforcement-Mental Health Intensive Technical Assistance Project.  Having already been recognized as a Learning Site and a model Specialized Police Response (SPR) program through their Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Sites Project, the CSG Justice Center selected the Madison Police Department for this most recent project based on the strength of our existing program and partnerships with mental health providers such as Journey Mental Health Center.  This unique opportunity further distinguishes the Madison Police Department as a national leader in providing police services to people with mental illness.

While Madison has a comprehensive criminal justice-behavioral health partnership and an established history of multi-agency collaboration, we believe that continuous examination of potential enhancements to our current system will lead to improved outcomes for people with mental illness in our community. The goal of this particular project is to improve the overall operations of criminal justice and behavioral health agencies thereby increasing criminal justice system diversion and reducing recidivism of subjects with mental illness. The eighteen-month project will identify new policies and programs for responding to people with mental illness, implement proposed changes, and evaluate their effectiveness at increasing diversion and reducing recidivism.  By further developing data collection and analysis, improving information sharing, and supporting collaborative case management the project will provide law enforcement and behavioral health agencies the information needed to develop effective responses to people with mental illness.  Based on 10 years' experience in working closely with criminal justice-behavioral health partnerships across the country, the CSG Justice Center believes that many would benefit from an approach that maps processes and examines policies and practices to ensure that resources are used efficiently to respond to individual incidents while bolstering system-wide collaboration.  Lessons learned from this project will inform the development of guidance tools for policymakers and practitioners across the nation.

We are honored to have been selected for this project and welcome the opportunity to contribute both locally and nationally to any effort aimed at improving services to people with mental illness.  For more information on this project, the Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Sites Project and our Mental Health Liaison Program follow the links below or contact Captain Kristen Roman at



This blog was authored by Captain Kristen Roman.

Posted by: Chief Koval

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