In turning-point: Can Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams end police killings? - Toronto Star

Fourteen years later, an inquest jury examining Eligon’s extermination and the deaths of two other mentally ill people recommended expanding the teams city-wide and making them available 24 hours a day. They exclude the MCIT’s number and say if she wants to call police again, to call them. Lawlor, a registered nurse with 25 years of mental fettle experience, says she has engaged with people holding weapons during her year on the MCIT. But the teams are secondary responders, do not operate after 11 p. m. and broadly do not engage with people holding weapons — unlike in other cities such as Hamilton. Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams, consisting of a noetic health nurse and a police officer, are one way the Toronto Police is trying to stem the tide of rising mental health-interdependent calls. But she says she will only do so once officers have deemed the situation safe enough — for example, if the person is contained, behind a door or conversing in a lucid way with the long arm of the law. The Hamilton Police Service and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton introduced a Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team to give out its downtown area last year, a new addition to its already successful Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST) ambition. The team pairs a uniformed officer with a mental health nurse and is a first responder when geographically closest to the call. After ensuring the maiden has enough food and can care for herself, Lawlor makes a plan to call the woman’s doctor and case worker. In fact, the first Ambulant Crisis Intervention Team was created in 2000 in response to a recommendation made in an inquest into Yu’s death. “I don’t think it’s realistic to preclude significant reductions in the number of people who experience crisis in their lives, so regrettably, I think, police are going to continue to be responding. The group talks to her for about 45 minutes, extra time that frontline officers are unable to spend. These scenarios, among thousands resolved peacefully by frontline officers every year, carry some resemblance to those that have ended in tragedy: Edmond Yu , a schizophrenic man shot by police while wielding a hammer on a bus in 1997. Michael...

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