LINCOLN, Neb. - Mental health calls in Lincoln have been rising since 2006. From 2015 to 2016 there was about a 10 percent increase. This years numbers are predicted to follow that trend.
Although these numbers may be alarming, Lincoln Police Department said they've made a lot of progress in the mental health field over the years. And they feel better prepared to help the increasing number of calls.
All of this starts in training from day one at the academy.
Stephanie Janak just graduated from Lincoln's Police Academy. One topic she learned a lot about is mental illness.
"We covered just a variety of different diagnosis. We covered kind of how to validate the experience of the individual. And how we make contact." said Janak.
Since graduating Janak has been training in the field, learning hands on how to handle those situations.
"You know do we need to get them to the hospital and have their medications readjusted. Do they need to talk to somebody? Do we need to make a safety plan?Can we make a referral to the mental health association? Just kind of figuring out what's going on in that moment. What they need now, how we are going to keep them safe," said Janak.
The training doesn't stop with new officers. Since 2010 LPD has been offering behavioral health threat assessment or BETA training. It's an advanced program for veteran officers.
"BETA is really about a more in depth training of the behavioral health needs, threat assessment needs, danger in our community, and local resources," said Nelson.