Heroes for Health: Art Howell

This spotlight series is designed to profile members of the Racine Collaborative for Children’s Mental Health. Over the coming months, the series will feature individual Collaborative members, each of whom is integral to the group’s efforts to forge stronger connections and establish new approaches to strengthen the social and emotional development of our children.

This series is an opportunity to highlight and recognize the diverse individuals, services and resources available to the Racine community.

Who: Art Howell, Chief of Police for the City of Racine Police Department

Website: http://www.cityofracine.org/police.aspx

Email: arthel.howell@cityofracine.org

Phone: 262-635-7714

Facebook: Racine Police Department

About the Racine Police Department: The Racine Police Department serves the City of Racine in Southeastern Wisconsin with a population of 78,860 people. It is a department that has adopted the philosophy of Community Oriented Policing and has been a recognized leader in this area. Its mission is to deliver the best community oriented police services to the people of Racine.

Words from Art, a Hero for Health:

Today’s law enforcement community recognizes that there is a link between mental health conditions and behavioral conduct that often leads to police contact. As first-line responders, it is imperative that we differentiate between a criminal issue and a mental health issue and a number of local law enforcement officers have received professional Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) to assist in recognizing indicators of crisis in adults.

I’m honored to be working with so many partners who have extended their personal and organizational commitment to come together behind the Collaborative for Children’s Mental Health. We’ve already begun to address our chief challenge – that of enhanced communications across our various functions – schools, courts, law enforcement and health care providers. Now, we need to ensure that the children and youth in our community who need services receive them, and it is imperative that we reach children where they are – be that in their churches, community and youth centers, or in their schools.

We all must learn to recognize the indicators of a mental health crisis so that we do not have detention centers full of youth who are in need of mental health support and care, not incarceration. My vision is that the work of the Collaborative will position us as a community to more readily identify children who need support and services they were not previously receiving. Our success in coming together behind a comprehensive response to this issue will enable us to avoid using the criminal justice system as a means to deal with mental health issues.

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