Crisis Intervention Training helps officers during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Over the last several years, leaders from DuPage United have continued to move forward developing relationships with community law enforcement officials. Our key relationships with County officials continue to grow.
On April 4th, DuPage United (DU) leaders appealed to DuPage County Sherriff Mendrick to take action regarding de-population of non-violent detainees to reduce risk of COVID-19 spread in the jail. Sherriff Mendrick responded immediately to our request, offering to tele-meet with DU to discuss our concerns. We met with him on April 8 and learned what he is doing to de-populate the correctional facility, reduce the COVID-19 risk, and allay fears inmates and employees may have about being infected.
We applaud Sherriff Mendrick’s pro-active planning and action. Starting in January, he has worked cooperatively with other DuPage County officials. As of April 9, the jail’s population was reduced by just over 160 inmates, so that now the jail is essentially a felony correctional facility. He made sure every detainee released from the correctional facility had a place to go. He also used some of his budget to grant current inmates additional phone time with families.
He credited the Crisis Intervention Training, which DU worked diligently to bring to DuPage County, as essential in his officers’ effectiveness in de-escalating uncooperative detainees and dealing with congregating public, primarily with a non-touch approach. He indicated that, with this training, officers have been able to treat those they encounter more humanely and calmly. It is a win-win.
DuPage United leadership continues to build relationships with decision makers within the County and local municipalities.
Rate crisis reversed for CSUs – Update July 23, 2019
Anyone who has known a friend or a family member in a mental health crisis is aware that emergency rooms are not often staffed to handle the frantic need and fragility of the situation. Waiting for hours in the ER until behavioral health professionals arrive is not the answer. Law enforcement officers have also expressed their struggles when dealing with a mental health or addiction crisis in getting individuals the crisis treatment they need. DuPage United listened. We have spoken to hospital executives and politicians on the state and local level about the critical need for Crisis Stabilization Units (CSUs). We learned that hospitals want to develop these centers but couldn’t do so when the insurance reimbursement rate was a mere $29 a day (slashed from prior $800-a-day levels).
To address this issue, DuPage United developed relationships with key decision-makers to be a voice for those who need CSUs. Our meeting with Governor Pritzker in June 2019 was a key factor that resulted in reinstating an increased CSU reimbursement rate effective July 1. It took time and the power of DuPage United and its sister organizations to navigate through the political system for this success. Leaders of DuPage United are currently re-engaging hospital executives within DuPage and Kane Counties to leverage this win and continue our efforts for mental health criminal justice reform.
Care to meet and talk about this or another social justice issues? Contact any of the DU core members below to set up a time for us to talk with each other:
DuPage United leaders, Debbie Fulks, and Mary and Ron Hason are among dozens in attendance at the re-opening of the shuttered Sinai Hospital Crisis Stabilization Unit.
Prepared and Rapid Response:
On April 25th, 10 leaders from Metro IL IAF along with the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) attended the Aurora Public Library Board meeting in response to the satirical poem that was on display at the library that incited violence against Muslim women and others. Aliya Husain from Islamic Foundation Villa Park was our spokesperson. You can view her statement here.
Prior to the meeting the president of the board had called for the removal of the poem. This was a good example of a coordinated “Rapid Response” from our team and it was recognized by the library board and all those who were there in addition to the Aurora Beacon News and the Daily Herald.
If you want to learn more about the Prepared and Rapid Response Team contact Ben Weiskopf .
Do Not Stand Idly By
On April 8th over 30 leaders attended a training on Metro IAF’s strategy to reduce gun violence called “Do Not Stand Idly By”. Since this training DU leaders met with Chief Anderson of Lisle and Chief King of Hinsdale to encourage them to sign onto the RFI (request for information) to put pressure on gun manufacturers to create smart guns and also to track their distribution channels of how guns end up in the hands of bad people.
On May 10, the shareholders of a major American gun company took a modest step toward responsibly addressing the unacceptable levels of gun-related deaths and crime in our nation. Shareholders of Sturm, Ruger & Co. (Ruger) passed a resolution requiring the company to issue a report on its actions to mitigate harm associated with its products.
The resolution was drafted and introduced by leaders of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) — with the support of Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro IAF) — at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Prescott, Arizona. Management asked its shareholders at the meeting to vote against it, but a team of religious and civic leaders from our groups who had purchased Sturm Ruger shares, were there urging a “yes” vote and seeking dialogue with Ruger CEO Christopher Killoy.
And guess what, we won! We are proud that Rev. Mike Solberg from Union Church of Hinsdale was at this meeting representing DuPage United!
If you are interested in taking action on this campaign contact Adrienne McCauley.
Mental Health / Criminal Justice Reform
As a follow up to the Attorney General Assembly on March 11th, DU along with our sister organizations are handed out a flyer that outlines our strategy to end the incarceration of people with mental illness. So far 9 institutions have passed out or are going to pass out this flyer. We have 1,600 copies of the flyer at the DU office at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn. If you would like to distribute them at your institution we are selling them for $7.50 for 50 copies. You can also sign up for the flyers here. Contact Adrienne if you would like to coordinate a pick up for the flyers.
Church of the Holy Nativity in Clarendon Hills passed out the flyers during a presentation and listening session on housing and mental health on May 6th. It was a great way to get people thinking and talking about the issue. Others are distributing the flyers during services during Mental Health Awareness Month (May).
Also, May 7th the state announced that it was approved for $2 BILLION for the 1115 Medicaid waiver for behavioral health and addiction services. Renee Hyzy (First United Methodist Church Downers Grove), Rev. Mike Solberg (Union Church of Hinsdale), and Sheriff Kramer from Kane County co-authored an oped in the Daily Herald: State Must Spend Mental Health Money Wisely, linked here.
Next steps: The team is looking into scheduling two meetings with the candidates for sheriff in June.
If you are interested in participating in these meetings along with mental health team members please let Cari Pellegrini.
On April 16th the housing team hosted a training session to equip leaders in understanding the definition of affordable housing (no more than 30% of your income spent on housing), understanding who needs housing in DuPage County, the history and success of Metro IAF in housing (we’re not alone and can call on others to help), how housing is connected to our mental health strategy, and a call to action.
The call to action was to take the presentation on a tour within member and non-member institutions to broaden our base of support for housing, surface issues related to housing and also identify people who want to act.
If you are interested in having the housing presentation at your institution please contact Rev. Carol Taylor.
The year 2018 was busy for FCCGE and our partner institutions under DuPage United! Below summarizes some of our major accomplishments, but more compassionate efforts are needed to ensure these and future victories serve those who need our voice and action. If you have an interest in learning more about these issues, contact any of the DuPage United core members listed at the end of this article.
• Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training for Law Enforcement – DuPage United has led the way for:
• 410 police officers to be trained over the last year to identify and diffuse situations rather than incarcerate offenders with mental health issues. This resulted from a commitment DuPage United received three (3) years ago from the DuPage County State’s Attorney. State’s Attorney Berlin continues to encourage smaller county police forces to get the training. Said one officer, “I received 40 hours of crisis intervention training and I use it every day. I take hundreds of hours of shooting practice, and I have never drawn my gun once.”
• Increasing the utilization of DuPage County Health Department’s Crisis Stabilization Unit where it is now allowing drop offs from Wheaton Emergency Medical Services and continues to allow police to drop off non-violent offenders in crisis with mental health issues.
• Use of a new grant of the U.S. Department of Justice to further develop sustainable solutions to divert individuals with serious mental health issues from the criminal justice system.
• Gaining commitment of political leaders in Chicago, DuPage, Lake and Kane Counties, to require insurance company reimbursements for mental health treatment in less costly crisis stabilization units.
• Setting a goal in 2019 to meet with Governor Pritzker to work with him to pave a pathway for the overhaul of crisis stabilization units in Illinois.
• Addressing Gun Violence – DuPage United has led the way for:
• State’s Attorney Berlin and Sheriff Mendrick of DuPage agreeing to sign a “Request for Information” demanding that gun manufacturers track where the guns are sold and account for ways in which gun safety technology can reduce gun violence.
• DuPage United leaders and allies across the country to vote with their shares and successfully pass two shareholder resolutions with gun companies Strum and Ruger and Smith and Wesson to require the companies to track gun violence associated with their guns.
• Planning and publicizing an interfaith response to the Tree of Life synagogue shooting that occurred on October 27, 2018 in Pittsburgh, PA. An Interfaith Shabbat Service was held November 2 at Congregation Etz Chaim in Lombard (founding member of DuPage United) to mourn and honor the lives lost at the Tree Of Life synagogue. The moving service drew 850 people of faith including 40 clergy and a renewed commitment to work in unity on this issue and others. FCCGE’s Rev. Kendra Joyner-Miller participated by delivering words of prayer and hope during the service.
• Exploring ways to reduce homelessness – DuPage United is working on:
• Developing partnerships with property managers to address vacancies and rental units and the urgent need for housing for working families, seniors and immigrants.
• Exploring those communities who have not adopted “Inclusionary Zoning” policies. Developing relationships with Community leaders to increase awareness of the benefits of IZ.
Website volunteer: John DeBerge from the Downers Grove Society of Friends has been our volunteer website designer and developer for the past couple of years. He has done a great job (thank you John!) and would like to pass the baton on to someone else.
Newsletter volunteer: Did you like this update? Do you think we need to do it more often? A communications leader or two we could help us get something like this out more frequently.
Contact Laurel Bault if you are interested in helping out.
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