LANSING, Mich. — The Lansing Police Department recently received $1.3 million in federal money to start its crisis assessment team. Officials say putting a person behind bars is not always the answer. Providing people with resources that will make them better citizens is sometimes the best solution.
“Congresswoman Slotkin liked our proposal for the crisis team. She advocated for us and we were able to get the funds to start it,” said Lansing Police Social Work Supervisor Jessica Martin.
Martin said the team, which will consist of a social worker and crisis intervention team trained police officer, will be responsible for building relationships with people in the community while putting crisis intervention at the forefront.
“For example, if it’s a mental health crisis, we might use our partners at Community Mental Health to get them in for an evaluation,” said Martin. "And it may require sometimes taking people to the hospital if some more advance care is needed. But it's really all about trying to determine what the citizens needs are and who in the community would be able to best serve them and get them connected to those resources.”
“I’m formerly incarcerated. I was incarcerated in the 1980s during the war on drugs, but I call it the war on people because they were locking people up at high rates,” said Michael McKissic.
McKissic is not ashamed of his criminal background. In fact he said he embraces it to motivate others.
McKissic created The Mikey 23 Foundation that works to improve the lives of young people through skills training and mentorship.
McKissic was one of the many community members who wrote support letters to help the Lansing Police Department get funding for the crisis assessment team. He said he knows first hand how crucial it is to get resources before being tossed behind bars.
“Some people have mental issues,” McKissic said. “So what would happen is we would lock them up and then give them a mental assessment, when we should’ve did that prior to incarcerating the individuals."
The team is expected to operating by the end of the year.
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