Chicago Police DepartmentSpecial Order S04-20-01
Responding to Incidents Involving Persons in Need of Mental Health Treatment
Issue Date:13 December 2016Effective Date:13 December 2016
Rescinds:1 April 2015 Version
Index Category:Preliminary Investigations
I.Purpose
This directive provides procedures and responsibilities for responding to persons in need of mental health treatment who do not voluntarily seek treatment.
II.Policy
  • A.The Chicago Police Department is committed to:
    • 1.responding to incidents involving persons in need of mental health treatment with the foremost regard for the preservation of human life and the safety of all persons involved.
    • 2.if a person in need of mental health treatment is dangerous to himself or others, using necessary force to prevent serious physical injury or death.
    • 3.using physical force only to the extent necessary to restrain the subject while in Department custody.
    • 4.only using deadly force as a last resort for the protection of life for all involved persons.
    • 5.using time as a tactic when there is time to negotiate, de-escalate, and ensure the safety of all persons involved.
  • B.If a person is in need of mental health treatment, and:
    • 1.is armed, Department members will not attempt to take the subject into custody without the specific direction of a supervisor unless there is an immediate threat of physical harm to the subject, Department members, or others.
    • 2.is not immediately dangerous, Department members will contain the subject until assistance arrives.
    • 3.is unarmed, not violent, and willing to leave voluntarily, Department members will take the subject into custody.
III.Definitions
  • A.A person in need of mental health treatment is an individual who appears to suffer from a mental illness or emotional disorder and is conducting himself in a manner that a Department member reasonably believes is likely to result in serious injury to himself or others.
  • B.Zone of safety is the distance to be maintained between the subject and the responding member(s). This distance should be greater than the effective range of the weapon (other than a firearm) and it may vary with each situation (e.g., type of weapon possessed, condition of the subject, surrounding area).
IV.Procedures
  • A.Sworn members will not unreasonably endanger themselves or another person to conform to the procedures in this directive.
  • B.The first Department member on scene will:
    • 1.assess the situation.
    • 2.request a supervisor respond to the scene.
    • 3.request a CIT trained officer to assist.
      NOTE:
      Refer to Department directive entitled "Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Response" for additional information.
    • 4.isolate and contain the subject, if possible.
    • 5.determine if the subject is in possession of a dangerous weapon and establish weapons control.
    • 6.request the assistance of a SORT (Special Operations Response Team) vehicle, if appropriate.
    • 7.establish a zone of safety.
    • 8.use every possible means to verbally de-escalate the situation before resorting to the use of equipment, physical restraints, or other use of force options.
    • 9.allow the subject time to process what is being said.
    • 10.establish and maintain one on one communication with the subject and avoid giving simultaneous directions or having multiple members verbally engaging the subject to avoid confusion.
    • 11.listen and speak in a calm and controlled tone of voice in order to gather the individual's concerns as a de-escalation strategy while helping to defuse fear, anxiety, or insecurity.
  • C.The Department member assigned to investigate an incident with a mental health component will:
    • 1.complete a Mental Health - Crisis Intervention Report (CPD-15.520) only when:
      • a.no other report has been completed to document the incident, or
      • b.unusual circumstances exist (e.g., repeated calls to the location, history of violence).
    • 2.when the assignment is complete, use a "Z – Zebra; Mental-Health-Related" code when requesting an RD Number for a UCR code or using the proper number-letter code from the Miscellaneous Incident Reporting Table at the conclusion of the incident.
      • a.When requesting an RD Number using a UCR code, a "Z - Zebra" code will be added to the UCR code, via the OEMC dispatcher or the PDT, when the incident has a mental health component.
        • (1)When requesting an RD Number from the OEMC dispatcher, Department members will add a "Z" to the appropriate UCR code.
          EXAMPLE:
          "Please provide an RD Number for an 1160Z."
        • (2)When using the PDT, Department members will select the appropriate UCR code from the drop-down menu and will add a "Z" to the IUCR Code Box.
          EXAMPLE:
      • b.When using the proper number-letter code from the Miscellaneous Incident Reporting Table, a "Z - Zebra" code will be added to the code, via the OEMC dispatcher or the PDT, when the incident has a mental health component.
        • (1)When providing a number-letter code to the OEMC dispatcher, Department members will add a "Z" to the appropriate code.
          EXAMPLE:
          "Please clear the assignment with a 19-P(Paul), Z(Zebra)."
        • (2)When using the PDT, members will select the appropriate incident response codes from the drop-down menus and will add a "Z" to the code in the Disposition Box.
          EXAMPLE:
  • D.Field supervisors will:
    • 1.respond and provide supervisory guidance and support on all mental health assignments when requested, or if not requested, when feasible.
    • 2.direct the actions of first responders, while allowing the designated member to continue interactions with the subject.
    • 3.assess the situation to determine:
      • a.the appropriateness of the application of the principles of this directive and the Department's Use of Force policy.
      • b.whether an alternative force option is appropriate and should be considered.
      • c.if additional resources not already requested, including a SORT vehicle, are required.
    • 4.establish and maintain firearms control of the Department members on scene.
    • 5.designate the appropriate inner and outer perimeter for the incident.
    • 6.continually evaluate the incident and direct appropriate actions or modification to the initial response tactics.
    • 7.ensure that a Mental Health - Crisis Intervention Report (CPD-15.520) is completed if required under Item IV-C-1 of this directive.
    • 8.be responsible for the collection, review, and approval of all Mental Health - Crisis Intervention Reports and the submission of the approved reports to the station supervisor.
      NOTE:
      The station supervisor will forward all approved Mental Health - Crisis Intervention Reports to the CIT program.
    • 9.ensure the proper use of the "Z – Zebra; Mental-Health-Related" code at the conclusion of the incident.
  • E.Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)
    • 1.The Special Operations Response Team (SORT) are operational members of the SWAT Team assigned to mobile field patrol duties.
    • 2.SORT has specialized training and less lethal equipment to assist district personnel in successful resolutions when handling incidents involving persons in need of mental health treatment.
    • 3.SORT will provide a tactical response when the potential for injury or loss of life is present in cases of incidents involving persons in need of mental health treatment and the circumstances are beyond the available resources of the district response.
Eddie T. Johnson
Superintendent of Police
16-119 MWK