INDIANAPOLIS -- Emergency responders are trained to deal with mental health issues, but even they say more can be done.
Since 2007, every new IMPD officer has received crisis intervention training – basic guidelines on how to deal with a mental health emergency.
On Saturday, IMPD officers encountered a man armed with a combat knife in a mental health crisis. After repeated efforts to diffuse the situation, police say they had to use deadly force to protect themselves.
This week, police arrested an east side man who killed his wife by shooting her in the face 13 times while their two children were in the house.
Also Monday, the Sheriff's Department says a 35-year-old man took his own life inside the jail. Ten inmates have killed themselves in the past five years while in custody.
IMPD says it's time to build a database of people caught in mental health crises so police know how to respond before arriving on scene.
"We need to look at a process that allows us to do two things: Either take them to a facility and engagement center, or have a clinician on call to assist in some arrest situations," said IMPD Chief Rick Hite.
In IMPD's east district, police have engaged in a pilot project to team up an officer with a mental health professional to follow up with people who have run afoul of the law because of mental health issues.
"We would go out and see if the person got services, see if they were going to continue their treatment and to make sure the gaps are covered," said Officer Sherron Franklin.
Since the merger between the police and sheriff's departments, law enforcement has partnered with the local mental health community to do a better job of not only recognizing mental illness, but to do a better job of dealing with it.