Faculty Articles

Title

Involuntary Psychiatric Admissions Initiated by Two US Police Departments: A Descriptive Analysis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-13-2021

Publication Title

The Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN or ISBN

2050-8794

Volume

23

Issue/Number

4

Abstract/Excerpt

Purpose: Police officers are increasingly interacting with individuals with mental illnesses. Officers who encounter these persons have three choices: detain, arrest and transport to a correctional facility; resolve the situation informally; or initiate an involuntary psychiatric admission. The decision to place someone under an involuntary psychiatric admission is based on a variety of factors. This paper aims to collaborate with two metropolitan Police Departments in South Florida to explore individual and departmental factors that contribute to involuntary psychiatric admissions initiated by their officers.

Design/methodology/approach: This investigation examined 1,625 police reports of involuntary psychiatric admissions in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Descriptive statistics for the entire sample were computed, and percentages of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)-trained officers for both departments in each year were determined.

Findings: Results highlighted differences in rates of involuntary commitments, CIT-trained officers and associated variables (e.g. mental health diagnoses, substance use) between the two cities.

Practical implications: Implications of the findings, and directions that future research in this area might take, are discussed.

Originality/value: There is a dearth of literature pertaining to involuntary psychiatric admissions in general and factors specific to involuntary psychiatric admissions initiated by police. This paper adds preliminary findings and implications to this body of research.

DOI

10.1108/JFP-03-2021-0011

Peer Reviewed

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