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Criminal Justice

The LA City Council Wants More LAPD Mental Health Crisis Teams

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(Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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The L.A. City Council wants to explore what it would cost to expand the LAPD’s mental health crisis teams. The council voted today to direct the police department to report back on what it would take.

The LAPD’s Mental Evaluation Unit -- or MEU -- sends out teams of one officer and one clinician from the Department of Mental Health when people are experiencing a psychiatric crisis.

The goal is to defuse situations that could otherwise turn violent, and get the individual treatment instead of sending them to jail.

The problem is, there aren’t enough of these units to respond to all the mental health crisis calls they get.

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In 2019, the MEU was only able to respond to about 40% of roughly 20,000 calls.

And the number of these special teams has gone down over the last five years, from 17 to just 12.

“If we were to have more personnel, that would of course allow us to get to more calls,” Lt. Kelly Muniz, the officer in charge of the MEU, told the Police Commission last month.

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