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Preparing Law Enforcement Agencies for Embedded Clinicians

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2024
3 pages

This publication provides guidelines to prepare law enforcement agencies for embedded clinicians.


This brief provides tips for law enforcement leaders seeking to prepare their agencies for embedded clinicians within police-mental health collaborations. Even as jurisdictions begin implementing the national 988 Lifeline to directly connect people to trained crisis counselors during emergencies, law enforcement agencies still have an important role to play to ensure mental health calls are responded to appropriately. To effectively manage these calls, departments across the country are enhancing their responses by establishing police-mental health collaborations and embedding clinicians in law enforcement programs to support behavioral health calls for service and facilitate connections to care. This is in line with the American Psychological Association’s recommendation to increase the number of mental health professionals in law enforcement agencies, among other policing reform measures. While a key strength of these collaborations is that they leverage the different skillsets and expertise of law enforcement and mental health professionals, the cultural and training differences between these professions can also be a challenge to integrate. A successful partnership requires intentional planning by law enforcement leaders that proactively addresses these differences. Such planning can lead to improved program outcomes—such as a reduction in the use of force, decreased arrests, and reduced officer time on scene—by providing people with increased connections to community-based services that address their needs.

Date Published: February 1, 2024