Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Jonathon A. Cooper

Second Advisor

Erika Frenzel

Third Advisor

John A. Lewis

Fourth Advisor

Jennifer J. Roberts

Abstract

Police and public relations are at the forefront of most new stories and can be seen circulating multiple social media platforms; some to include individuals who have mental illnesses. To better understand the interaction between police officers and individuals with mental health diagnoses, this dissertation focuses on closing the gap in literature surrounding police responses to mental health calls for service, with an emphasis on training and relationships with mental health agencies. Through the use of factorial surveys, police departments in different locations across the United States and the inclusion of police departments with Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) were surveyed. Using vignettes and demographic information, linear mixed modeling was used to analyze the results in light of the research questions. Overall, the majority of the hypotheses tested were unsupported by the data. However, the key independent variables had significant effects on the goodness of fit while building models from the bottom up. Indirectly, the results speak to the importance of police training about mental health disorders, and the likelihood of diverting individuals with mental illness from the criminal justice system.

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