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NCJ Number: 201941 Find in a Library
Title: Role of Police Education in Handling Cases of Mental Disorder
Journal: Criminal Justice Review  Volume:28  Issue:1  Dated:Spring 2003  Pages:88-112
Author(s): Teresa C. LaGrange
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 25
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the ways in which police officers with different levels of education reported handling cases of mental disorder.
Abstract: Cases involving mental illness are one example of the sensitive and perplexing situations that police confront in an increasingly complex society. Data were taken from officers’ accounts of their most recent cases in which the suspect appeared to be mentally ill. The study controlled for officer factors, including gender, age, and experience, as well as for suspect- and incident-specific factors, including the psychiatric criteria for referral for mental health evaluation. Incident outcome was used as the dependent variable, with possible outcomes including arrest, psychiatric referral, or informal resolution to the incident. Interviews were conducted in a Cleveland, OH police department with 156 patrol officers in 1998 and 1999. Results suggest that, although officers’ descriptions of incidents were generally comparable, the reported outcomes differed depending on their level of education. University-educated officers were significantly more likely to report having made a psychiatric referral than officers with a high school education or some college. Those with lower levels of education were both more likely to report having made arrests, and more likely to report handling incidents informally, than the university-educated. Even when other factors were taken into consideration, the incidents described by university-educated officers were significantly more likely to result in psychiatric referrals than those related by their less educated colleagues. Further research into the impact of higher education for police officers should examine other critical incident cases that have a significant potential for harm resulting to those involved and the officers themselves. 5 tables, 11 footnotes, 53 references
Main Term(s): Mental disorders; Police education
Index Term(s): Criminal justice education; Education; Higher education; Mentally ill offenders; Police higher education; Police procedures training
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