The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has presented the Lower Merion Police Department with their 2015 Criminal Justice Award. The organization recognized the Police Department’s dedication to assisting the mentally ill and their families. The LMPD achieved this through comprehensive training, the use of court diversions and partnering with mental health advocates.
“The goal of Lower Merion Police Department is to foster a greater understanding between the police and mental health service providers in Lower Merion Township and to forge a partnership in assisting mental health consumers,” said Superintendent Michael McGrath. “It is necessary to include criminal justice in this partnership. We’re honored to receive the award and will work hard to keep these best practices in place.”
The educational foundation for the LMPD program is the “Crisis Intervention Specialist” model created by Montgomery County Emergency Services. Today, every Township patrol officer has attended this three-day program and a large portion of them now have advanced mental health training. The Basic CIS School focuses on crisis intervention, mental health law, competency, mental health disorders, mental retardation, substance abuse, suicide, medications, terminology and appropriate referral processes. It includes clinical visits and direct instruction from experienced mental health professionals.
The LMPD has a partnership with the MCES Mobile Crisis Outreach Team, Post- and Pre-Booking Forensic Diversion of mental health consumers, the development of a Summary Diversion Program with Lower Merion Township’s three District Courts, and a seat at the Montgomery County Emergency Service Forensic Task Force.