Public Comment / HB 29: Mental Health & Law Enforcement Co-response

Updated: 1 year ago
Public Policy

January 20, 2023
Nate Crippes / Public Affairs Supervising Attorney
Andrew Riggle / Public Policy Advocate
(801) 363-1347 / (800) 662-9080

My name’s Andrew Riggle. I’m the Disability Law Center’s public policy advocate.

Media reports estimate around a third to a half of those killed by police have disabilities. Linden Cameron was nearly a tragic local example. For this reason, we asked you to consider adding a non-law enforcement response option to last year’s version of this bill. Fortunately, Rep. Stoddard took us up on this request.

Rep. Stoddard worked with us all summer as we explored the CAHOOTS model in Eugene, Oregon and Denver’s STAR. He understands the importance of having an individual with the correct experience and tools responding in a particular situation.

Because Rep. Eliason’s HB 66 includes funding for additional mobile crisis outreach teams, HB 29 now focuses on creating new or expanding existing best practice CIT teams, as an important piece of a fully functioning crisis system. It also specifies the circumstances under which each type of response is appropriate. If law enforcement is needed, it requires officers be trained and certified in accordance with the recommendations of the state’s Mental Health Crisis Intervention Council.

Our goal is to get more of both of these crucial resources into areas of the state that don’t have them or need more of them. Even though the fiscal note is significant, we expect the data will show an increased connection to community resources and a decreased cost of hospitalization and incarceration. Ultimate success would be never having another person in crisis unnecessarily injured.