News Article Details

Mental health group honors police departments

Rochester Post - 2/28/2017

AUBURN HILLS - The Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority honored a number of local police departments during the organization's first annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Breakfast Feb. 22.

OCCMHA Executive Director and CEO Willie Brooks spoke during the event, which took place at the authority's Resource and Crisis Center in Auburn Hills. The breakfast included a special awards ceremony honoring more than 26 law enforcement agencies for their participation in several OCCMHA training programs, including the Crisis Intervention Training program, which teaches officers to defuse volatile situations with mentally ill or addicted individuals without violent confrontation. Other programs included Law Enforcement Responds with Naloxone, which trains and equips emergency personnel with naloxone inhalers, which can counter opioid overdoses.

"We have a number of programs we do in collaboration with law enforcement departments in the area," explained Christine Burk, the OCCMHA's manager of communications and community outreach. "We wanted to host a breakfast to honor some of the agencies we work with, particularly those involved with LERN training and CIT training to de-escalate confrontations with those dealing with a mental health crisis."

The Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority is the public mental health system responsible for identifying, influencing and delivering services and support to approximately 25,000 Oakland County residents, including individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, adults with mental illness, children with serious emotional disturbances, and people with substance use disorders.

Burk said that at least 100 lives have been saved in metro Detroit through the naloxone kits they have provided to first responders.

More than 26 departments were honored at the breakfast, including the Franklin-Bingham Farms Police Department.

The authority's coordination with law enforcement has proven to be an important one, according to Franklin-Bingham Farms Police Chief Daniel Roberts. He said the training his department has received through the CIT and LERN programs has already saved lives.

"Even in our small community, we've had an instance of Narcan saving the life of an overdosing individual," said Roberts. "We are hoping our relationship with CMH only grows from here. The chiefs and the Oakland County sheriff are looking at a bill going through Lansing right now that would allow police agencies to share information of those who have been helped with Narcan and saved their lives with the CMH so they can counsel that person and prevent future overdoses."

The leaders of the recognized departments expressed their gratitude to the OCCMHA and their hope to work with the authority again in the future on additional initiatives.

"It's great to be recognized," remarked Roberts. "There are a lot of police departments that have a great relationship with CMH. We've had a lot of success with the programs we discussed at the breakfast. Our department's biggest connection with them is the Operation Medication (Cabinet) program, which allows residents to drop off prescription medication in a way they will be disposed of properly and not end up in a landfill or in the sewage water."

For more information about the OCCMHA, call (800) 341-2003 or visit


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