People get in to policing to fight crime, but most calls to police are not about crimes at all, said Fady Dagher (EMBA’12) in an interview with CBC. Officers regularly respond to calls that involve people experiencing mental health crises, or people with disabilities. The new Chief of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) wants his officers to better understand what it is like to be on the other side of these calls.
That’s why Dagher’s force created an immersion program that strips officers of their uniforms and guns, and places them in a local school for people with disabilities for several days. The first of its kind program aims to build officers' understanding of the behaviours of people with significant developmental or mental health challenges, so that they can respond more effectively to this type of call.