Seattle police intervening in fewer mental health calls, data show

Washington state legislators imposed new restrictions on the use of force by police, including strict limits on physically restraining someone who is not suspected of committing a crime. At a time when non-police responders to mental health crises are not yet fully staffed, the use-of-force reforms have had the unintended consequence in Seattle of denying some people in mental health crises the emergency care they need. Police believe they are not allowed to restrain someone in order to involuntarily commit them to a mental hospital. Involuntary commitments have dropped by almost half.

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