- Associated Press - Friday, February 20, 2015

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts wants to pair up police officers and mental health professionals to proactively address mental health conflicts.

Speaking to the Baltimore City Delegation in Annapolis on Friday, Batts said he is looking for funding and support to place two officers and two mental health clinicians in each of the nine police districts in Baltimore.

Batts said a similar initiative was launched with the Long Beach Police Department in California, where he served as chief. The officers and clinicians made up a mental evaluation team, he said, and worked full time handling conflicts involving the homeless, residents off their medication, and responding to suicidal situations that had the potential to turn into suicide by police.

Batts said the pairing can make a dramatic difference in the city.

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