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New Cleveland police policies offer treatment for mentally ill

The new policies are aimed at steering people with mental health issues toward treatment instead of jail


Associated Press

CLEVELAND — New Cleveland police policies aimed at steering people with mental health issues toward treatment instead of jail have been approved by the federal judge overseeing reforms of the police department.

In some cases involving people having a mental health or substance abuse crisis, officers with specialized training will be allowed to refer those individuals to hospitals and treatment facilities rather than arrest them for minor crimes.

In this June 26, 2014 file photo, a U.S. veteran with post-traumatic stress sits in a segregated holding pen at the Cook County Jail after he was arrested on a narcotics charge in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast-File)
In this June 26, 2014 file photo, a U.S. veteran with post-traumatic stress sits in a segregated holding pen at the Cook County Jail after he was arrested on a narcotics charge in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast-File)

Cleveland.com reports the judge's order says the new policy gives such officers "appropriate discretion" in those cases.

It's one of the key provisions in a court-monitored reform agreement between Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Justice. The agreement was reached in 2015, after a federal investigation concluded officers showed a pattern and practice of using excessive force on people, including the mentally ill.

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