Report: Indio police struggle with ‘responding to homeless individuals with mental health concerns’

The Indio Police Department has made strides over the years with responding to calls about homeless individuals throughout the community and directing them toward resources, however, challenges persist, according to a recently released report by the ASU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Quality of life officers are typically paired together when responding to calls and are “not trained to respond to certain mental health situations,” according to the report.

It also states that “having the mental clinician ride with them helped, but unfortunately IPD needs to hire a new clinician to provide this resource.”

The report also found that “even with these challenges, there is strong evidence that Housing First programs that focus on offering (but not requiring) services can reduce homelessness.”

Background on CORP
Given these long-standing concerns about homelessness, the CORP program began in
2015 to address issues of chronic homelessness. The program took and continues to take a two pronged approach to homelessness. The first prong involved the assignment of two Indio Police
Department (IPD) officers to work on homelessness and quality of life issues full-time (now
three officers, using funding from this grant). The grant also provided funding for a mental
health clinician to work directly with the QOL officers. The clinician began working with the
team in 2019, but has since left due to a new position. At the time of this report, IPD was
working with the county to bring on a new clinician. We describe the work of these quality of
life (QOL) officers more in our IPD results section.

ASU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Watch News Channel 3 tonight at 6:00 pm to hear how IPD plans to address deficiencies found in the report, and how it plans to continue bolstering aspects of its program that are successful.

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