Spingfield IL police department devotes more time to mental health

Spingfield IL police department devotes more time to mental health

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Sara Anderson, left, manager for Memorial Behavioral Health complex care team and care coordination program, Springfield Police Officer Steve Termine and Jamie Riedle, community outreach and engagement specialist for Memorial Behavioral Health, in Springfield, Ill., Friday, May 14, 2021. The Springfield Police Department partners with Memorial Behavioral Health to get mental health resources into the community by having a police officer team up with a mental health counselor to respond to calls that involve a subject that needs mental health services.

Editor’s note: This story is the second of three this week exploring mental health and highlighting some of the local efforts taking place to improve the community’s overall mental wellness.

When someone is in a mental health crisis and a potential danger to themselves or others, 911 is often the first call. That can lead to tragic encounters, such as one involving a man and the Chatham Police Department in March. 

During the incident — which garnered community support and attention with its “Speak Out For Gregory” movement on social media — Gregory Small’s mother, Keena Small, called 911 and asked police to respond to her home where he son was cutting himself and threatening others.

Dashcam video footage released last month shows the responding officer in the family’s front yard with his gun drawn and ordering Smalls to “put the knife down.” In the video, Small advances toward the officer with a knife in his hand. The officer fires four shots in response.



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