WHEREAS, encounters between the police and the people with mental illness have been rising in the last few decades; and
WHEREAS, law enforcement agencies should expand the training used to deal with the mentally ill; and
WHEREAS, prisons are now home to 10 times more mentally ill Americans than state psychiatric hospitals. And at least half of the people shot and killed by police in the U.S. every year have mental health problems, according to a 2013report by the National Sheriffs' Association; and
WHEREAS, the recent shootings across the nation of unarmed victims who are mentally ill have become too common; and
WHEREAS, a lack of training by police departments on dealing with the mentally ill can lead to deadly consequences; and
WHEREAS, more resources are needed to train police officers, dispatchers and other criminal justice workers on how to interact with people with mental illness; and
WHEREAS, despite a proven track record, only 10 percent of the nation's 25,000 police departments require crisis intervention training regarding the mentally ill.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) urge all law enforcement agencies across the nation to aggressively enforce training on how to interact with the mentally ill and mandates that every officer in the department participate and fulfill a required amount of training; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP call upon the U.S. Department of Justice to identify police department standards for ongoing periodic mental health training and provide a toolkit for departments that do not have an adequate training program.