At the beginning of this month, California signed into law SB 11 and SB 29 which are bills designated to “provide peace officers training to deal with the mentally ill.” Senator Jim Beall writes, "Existing state-mandated police officer training and departmental training has been inadequate, fueling highly publicized conflicts between officers and people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities that have eroded the public's trust in law enforcement.”
These new laws will require that officers undergo specialized training in dealing with people with mental illness or developmental disabilities. An educational plan is being developed by the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.
These laws come at a time where police officers are often the first respondents to an occurrence involving someone with a mental illness or a developmental disability.
Sen. Beall hopes the laws will decrease the problematic confrontations between the police and citizens and subsequently the amount of lawsuits against the state.