Learn about a National Initiative to Improve Police Responses to People with Mental Illnesses and Developmental Disabilities

In cooperation with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the Vera Institute of Justice recently launched Serving Safely: The National Initiative to Enhance Policing for Persons with Mental Illnesses and Developmental Disabilities. This new program is designed to improve collaborative responses and outcomes for people with mental illnesses and intellectual and developmental disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system.

As part of Serving Safely, Vera and BJA are working with leaders in the fields of policing, mental health, intellectual and developmental disability, crisis intervention, peer advocacy, prosecution, emergency medicine, and technology development. This consortium of diverse and multidisciplinary partners aims to:

  • Increase collaborative responses and minimize unnecessary detention and incarceration of persons with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities;
  • Strengthen connections to community-based treatment and services; and
  • Enhance police-community partnerships.

To accomplish these goals, the team will build a national community of practice, develop and facilitate collaborative responses, and contribute to and expand on best practices, policies, and resources available to the field. Partners will also offer training, technical assistance, and support to police departments, sheriffs’ departments, and prosecutors.

Learn more and request assistance through Serving Safely.