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Bipolar and Surviving

#27 - Law enforcement and mental illness

Bipolar and Surviving
Bipolar and Surviving

I share my thoughts on the findings from the study "Road Runners" via Treatment Advocacy Center. Key findings can be found on:


  • An average of 10% of law enforcement agencies’ total budgets was spent responding to and transporting persons with mental illness in 2017.
  • The average distance to transport an individual in mental illness crisis to a medical facility was 5 times farther than the distance to transport them to jail.
  • Nationwide, an estimated $918 million was spent by law enforcement on transporting people with severe mental illness in 2017.
  • The amount of time spent transporting people with mental illness by law enforcement agency survey respondents in 2017 sums to 165,295 hours, or more than 18 years.
  • 21% of total law enforcement staff time was used to respond to and transport individuals with mental illness in 2017.
  • Law enforcement officers waited significantly longer — almost 2.5 hours longer — when dropping a person off at a medical facility than if transporting to a jail.
  • Some officers reported having to wait with the individual for 72 hours or more until a bed becomes available.
  • Survey respondents drove a total of 5,424,212 miles transporting individuals with serious mental illness in 2017 — the equivalent of driving around the Earth’s equator more than 217 times.

The report was released in partnership with the National Sheriffs' Association and the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police and funded by the Achelis and Bodman Foundation.

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