With an increase in wrongful death cases related to individuals suffering from mental disabilities and illnesses, the question arises whether law enforcement is properly equipped to handle these situations. In the Lawyer Monthly article “Reforming The US Police Force: Should The Police Be Allowed To Shoot?” Partner Rodney Diggs discussed why the LAPD is in need of “a systemic change.”
“Over the years I have practiced, I have seen [approximately] 50-60% increase in wrongful death cases related to individuals suffering from mental disabilities/illnesses,” said Diggs. The increase, he noted, can be attributed to law enforcement’s lack of proper training for these situations. “Conventional police training directly clashes with effective tactics for resolving a typical mental health crisis. Unfortunately, much of that training relies on a command-and-control approach that can lead to dangerous escalations in the use of force.”
“I think it takes a lot of work for an effective process upfront. However, training should be ongoing and continuous. The work and training should never stop. It all begins with the department understanding that implementing a training for its officers, in the long run, helps saves lives and saves the city money by paying out less for wrongful death lawsuits,” he added.