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Mayor, APD Chief highlight work of Crisis Intervention Unit

Crisis Intervention Unit
November 07, 2023

Mayor Tim Keller and APD Chief Harold Medina highlighted the work of APD’s Crisis Intervention Unit to address some of the toughest behavioral health cases on a daily basis.


The team of specialized detectives focuses on proactive investigations and casework to assist individuals in the community who may be suffering from a mental health crisis. Detectives attempt to reduce violence when they encounter individuals in crisis by focusing on treatment first. By partnering with local clinicians, such as Presbyterian, UNMH and the VA hospital, officers are able to provide resources that are unique to individual needs.


“The proactive work of the Crisis Intervention Unit ensures individuals in mental crisis have resources available to them when they come into contact with law enforcement,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “The goal is to prevent a tragedy that may be triggered by a mental health emergency.”


CIU detectives follow up with individuals who have received assistance from a local hospital, or may be an immediate threat to themselves or others. Clinical partners may contact APD in cases where an individual misses an appointment or leaves a concerning voicemail on the office lines. The partnership with clinicians is done in a way that maintains necessary client/provider confidentiality and works to reduce the stigma around mental health crisis.


“The crisis doesn’t stop when the individuals are taken to a hospital,” said Chief Harold Medina. “That is why the follow up work of our detectives is so important to make imperative resource connections.”

APD is also one of the few police departments in the state that has used the state’s Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order law to get court approval to remove access to firearms from an individual who is going through a mental health crisis. APD has used the so-called Red Flag 20 times, and is currently in the process of petitioning orders for two more cases. CIU has also used intensive threat assessments 50 times to reduce access to firearms among dangerous individuals.


“Our detectives have worked hard to utilize this law and I am convinced their work has saved lives,” said Commander Matt Dietzel, who oversees the unit. “Just as important, they have been successful in getting these same individuals into long-term treatment.”


Aside from mental health resources, CIU also connects individuals to resources for substance abuse issues and assistance in developing basic job skills to find work. APD’s ultimate goal is to reduce the number of times an individual going through a mental health crisis interacts with law enforcement and the judicial system as a whole and instead connect them with the proper resources.