First Advisor

Mark Leymon

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Criminology and Criminal Justice and University Honors


Criminology and Criminal Justice


Police services for the mentally ill -- United States, Portland (Or.). Bureau of Police -- Case studies, Mentally ill offenders -- United States, Law enforcement -- United States




Police interactions with the mentally ill have been a growing topic as of late in the United States, both in scholarship and in the news. The environment regarding policing is changing, and police agencies are now looking for ways to properly deal with sensitive populations. The information presented will outline and compare Portland Police Bureau’s (PPB) Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) methods for working with the mentally ill, to similar methods around the country, to see what the differences were in police-based interaction with the mentally ill. Five interviews were conducted with staff from the Behavioral Health Unit, and a content analysis of those interviews was conducted to determine if the Behavioral Health Unit provides a platform for a successful evidence-based model for police and their interactions with people with mental illness around the nation. The findings suggest that the Behavioral Health Unit has the potential to be an evidence-based model, and a conclusion could be drawn that the tactics of resource connection and follow-up applied by the Behavioral Health Unit could be applied to other departments to lessen the issues that surround police interaction with the mentally ill.


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