Master of Arts (MA)
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Faculty of Arts
Dr. Jennifer Lavoie
Dr. Carrie Sanders
An increasing portion of police service resources are being dedicated to interactions involving persons with mental illness (PMI). As a result, Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Teams (MCT) comprised of mental health professionals have been recently implemented to assist police officers in more efficiently handling police calls for service involving PMI. The current ethnographic study used data collected through researcher ride-alongs with police officers at a mid-sized police service in Ontario to assess how police officers interact with and perceive MCTs. Results from thematic analysis indicated that officers value the skill sets possessed by MCT workers, had relatively positive perceptions towards them, and viewed MCT members as ultimately more knowledgeable about mental health than themselves. While officers and the MCTs typically collaborated well, there was an identified need for further mental health resources in the form of additional MCT units and extended hours of MCT operation. Further, officers had different understandings regarding when they should call in an MCT and when they could safely leave a PMI with a mental health professional either on-scene or at the hospital. Finally, while officers often had tense relationships with and opinions towards hospital staff, the MCT mental health professionals have eased this tension. This improvement in police-hospital relations is largely due to MCTs ability to use medical language familiar to hospital staff when discussing mental health cases, thereby increasing legitimacy of police involved in Mental Health Act (MHA) apprehensions.
Viersen, Trevor, "Exploring Police Officers' Perceptions of Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Teams Within a Nodal Policing Framework" (2017). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 1964.