Several police organizations have implemented training programs and co-response police-mental health programs to improve interventions among people in crisis. Some researchers have questioned the “one size fits all” approach of these programs and their ability to improve the management of specific psychosocial emergencies such as suicide-related behaviors.
This study evaluates the effect of a co-response police-mental health program introduced by the Laval Police Department to improve interventions in suicide-related calls.
Propensity score matching techniques were used to match 130 observations of a control group with 251 observations of a treatment group. Average treatment effects (ATEs) were then computed.
Results indicate that the co-response program was associated with significant decreases in police use of force (ATE = −0.077; p ≤ 0.05) and transports to hospital (ATE = −0.773; p ≤ .01). Increases were observed in referrals to community resources (ATE = 0.285; p ≤ 0.01), and individuals managed through their social network (ATE = 0.530; p ≤ 0.01).
The findings suggest that co-response police-mental health programs can improve the management of people showing suicide-related behaviors.