Date of Conferral





Criminal Justice


Tony Smith


With the increasing amount of police calls involving persons experiencing a mental health crisis (PICs), agencies are looking for ways to reduce the overuse of emergency services and criminal confinement. Police-mental health collaborative (PMHC) programs were developed to utilize the expertise of both mental health and law enforcement practitioners to provide immediate linkage to psychiatric services in an effort to prevent unnecessary involvement in the criminal justice system. The theoretical framework for this study was built on the sequential intercept model (SIM) along with the theories of social network and social support. The SIM identifies 5 key points where PICs can be diverted away from the criminal justice system. PMHC programs fall within the first intercept where persons with mental illness can be diverted at their first initial contact with law enforcement. Limited empirical research exists that show PMHC programs are reaching their intended objectives. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the effect of PMHC services on the likelihood that PICs will have future mental health calls (MHCs), arrests, and emergency hospitalizations (EHPs). Archival data from 1 midwestern police agency and online public court records was used in the analysis. The study employed OLS and logistic regression techniques, which revealed no statistically significant relationships between the PMHC interventions and the likelihood of future MHCs, arrests, and EHPs. However, significance was achieved for several covariates including transient status, prior history of MHCs, arrests, and EHPs. These findings will contribute to positive social change by informing policymakers and practitioners on best practices in community mental health crisis response.