Long Beach
Police Department

Media Relations
400 W. Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 570-5273
Web-based training provides tools for officers to prepare for mental health crisis calls
Media Relations Detail
(562) 570-5273

The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD), in partnership with the Guidance Center, a nonprofit child and family mental health service provider, together with Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department  (LASD) announce the launch of the Roll Call Mental Health Training Video Series.

Roll Call Mental Health Training is a series of web-based training modules that provide officers with tools to readily identify the signs of mental illness in the field and to safely and effectively de-escalate these encounters. Funded by a grant from The Ahmanson Foundation, the videos can be accessed on The Guidance Center’s website (www.tgclb.org/roll-call) at no cost to any interested law enforcement agency across the country.

First responders are increasingly being called upon to also serve the role of social worker and therapist when engaging with community members. The Guidance Center, LBPD, LAPD and LASD formed a partnership in 2017 to help law enforcement professionals across the country address this challenge and effectively prepare for encounters with people who have mental illness in the field.

“There is an urgent need to address mental health differently in our communities across the country,” said Patricia Costales, LCSW, CEO of The Guidance Center. “At The Guidance Center, we believe partnerships are key to making this shift as do our Long Beach and Los Angeles law enforcement collaborators. Roll Call Mental Health Training is a meaningful step in breaking the stigma around mental health through education and creating safer communities together.”

The Roll Call Mental Health Training Series was produced by combining The Guidance Center’s more than 70 years of mental health and trauma expertise with the reputable knowledge base from LBPD, LAPD and LASD and their model Mental Evaluation Teams. The goal of the series is to provide a cost-effective, ongoing training program on mental health for law enforcement, without requiring departments to incur the typical expenses associated with one-day crisis intervention trainings.

“I am pleased with this innovative training we have developed through our multi-agency partnership,” said Robert Luna, Chief of LBPD. “Officers encounter unpredictable mental health situations on a daily basis and these videos reinforce critical communication skills to help achieve a positive and safe outcome for all parties involved.”

The scenario-based training series includes eight, 7-10 minute web-based videos. Each video is formatted to be easily shown during roll call before the officers go into the field. This format allows for the videos to be shown once a week as an 8-week training program, then regularly incorporated into roll call briefings on a reoccurring basis to reinforce knowledge and use of tools in the field.

“The new training videos give more officers and deputies access to critically important information about individuals who suffer from mental illness,” said Jim McDonnell, Sheriff of Los Angeles County. “This resource will help provide police with some of the tools needed to increase compassion and reduce the need to use force. The goal is to purposefully de-escalate the situation and work toward a positive resolution and get them help.”

The video series teaches practical skills to help officers with a broad range of concerns. Topics covered include:

  • Nonviolent de-escalation tactics,
  • How to assess for serious mental illness,
  • Potential suicides,
  • Understanding Autism,
  • Strategies for children,
  • Writing psychiatric holds that hold, and
  • Self-care

Roll Call Mental Health Training stresses the importance of officers relying on their tactical training, while also providing an understanding of what people with mental illnesses are going through and tactics to safely de-escalate a mental health crisis situation.

Each department in the partnership plans to incorporate the videos into their roll call and other department briefings so all members of their agencies can benefit from the training.

In addition to being shown at roll call in all Patrol Divisions, the LBPD will provide the training to new recruits in the Police Academy, and will e-mail a link that allows all employees access to the training videos.

LAPD will be delivering the roll call training videos as part the Department’s standardized roll call training schedule, beginning January 2019. The videos will be presented monthly, during all roll calls, featuring a new topic each month. This will culminate in August with the roll call training video on “Self-Care,” in preparation for Suicide Prevention Month in September.

"Encounters with people who suffer from mental illness often present some of our most challenging circumstances,” said Michel Moore, Chief of LAPD. “The Los Angeles Police Department has been a leader in American policing for decades with its dedicated commitment to mental health training for its personnel. More recently we’ve further expanded specialized teams to respond to mental health crisis’ as well as reemphasized our commitment to de-escalation, and the preservation of life. We are always looking for innovative ways to engage and educate our officers, and these videos will no doubt help to achieve that goal."

Roll Call Mental Health Training Series was produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, Matthew Murray with cinematography by Evan Barthelman and original music by Mark Kirby. For more information regarding Roll Call Mental Health Training Series, please visit www.tgclb.org/roll-call.