Metro to expand police department’s mental health pilot program

It is an issue that is more in the spotlight, especially after the police Shooting death of a man on Interstate 65: How the police respond to people who may be in a mental health crisis.

Now Nashville is expanding a program that is meant to help police officers with that.

The announcement of the expansion of the so-called “Partners in Care” program came during a stakeholder meeting late last week.

“We realize that Partners in Care enjoys a level of popularity that we did not anticipate, it is the right resource at the right time,” Dia Cirillo, of the mayor’s office, said at the meeting.

Questions remain about why a mental health expert couldn’t be at the scene on I-65 last month. Officers shot and killed Landon Eastep after about a half hour of speaking with him when police said Eastep quickly pulled a metal object from his pocket that turned out not to be a weapon.

His wife had previously reported that Eastep saw delusions.

This is not the only time in the last year that police have responded to situations involving people who are likely to be suffering from psychosis.

Right now, the mayor’s office says the Partners in Care pilot program is only staffed Monday through Friday mornings and afternoons at the Hermitage and North police precincts, though they say help is available at other precincts and on weekends. week if necessary.

“We are working on new services in the central precinct to start before the new fiscal year and additional resources in other parts of the county,” Cirillo said.

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As part of the expansion, the mayor’s office says it hopes to train 550 police officers in crisis intervention over the next three years.

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