Behavioral Health Unit

The mission of the Behavioral Health Unit is to coordinate the response of Law Enforcement and the Behavioral Health System to aid people in behavioral crisis resulting from known or suspected mental illness and or drug and alcohol addiction.
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The Behavioral Health Unit’s (BHU) mission is to coordinate the response of Law Enforcement and the Behavioral Health System to aid people in behavioral crisis resulting from known or suspected mental illness and/or drug and alcohol addiction.

BHU oversees the four tiers of PPB’s multi-layered police response to individuals with mental illness or in behavioral crisis. These layers include:

  • The core competency of Crisis Intervention Training for all patrol officers
  • The Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT), a group of volunteer officers that respond to mental health crisis calls
  • The proactive Behavioral Health Response Teams (BHRT)
  • The Service Coordination Team (SCT)

For further information on the Behavioral Health Unit, please contact (503) 823-0812. 

Crisis Intervention Training & Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team

All Portland Police Bureau officers receive basic Mental Health Response Training/Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), as well as annual mental health refresher training. 

About 8% of all calls for service involve a mental health component. Force remains low in relation to encounters involving an actual or perceived mental health component (0.7 percent of the calls). In addition, most often force is described as a Category 4 force incident, the lowest level of force, defined as not reasonably likely to result in physical injury. Category 2 and 3 force incidents, which includes the use of ECWs or Tasers, are used in just one-fourth of one percent of encounters.

BHU also oversees volunteer patrol officers on the Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT).  These officers respond to crisis calls that are determined to be related to an individual with mental illness.  ECIT officers receive additional training in order to; identify risks during a behavioral crisis, utilize crisis communication techniques to help de-escalate a person in crisis, and have knowledge of available community resources. Analysis shows that ECIT officers are arriving at between 70 and 75 percent of calls to which BOEC directly dispatches them.

Use of Force: BHU can report that uses of force occur in about one-fifth of one percent, or 1 in every 500 ECIT calls. This includes all levels of force.

Behavioral Health Response Team

The Behavioral Health Response Team attempt to connect referents with appropriate mental health services. BHRT teams are comprised of an officer and mental health clinician who work in partnership.  BHU’s rate of assignment for referrals have been between 40% - 50%.  BHU began collecting this data in 2014. In addition, about half of the outcomes facilitated by the BHRTs are due to some sort of behavioral health system coordination.

The Portland Police Bureau is committed to continuous improvement in our delivery of service to Portland's most vulnerable communities.

Service Coordination Team

The Service Coordination Team (SCT) is a crime reduction program for the City of Portland, managed by the Portland Police Bureau.  SCT is responsible for coordinating law enforcement, criminal justice, supportive housing and treatment resources for individuals who are chronically arrested in order to improve public safety, reinforce community livability, and increase quality of life by breaking the cycle of addiction and criminality.

SCT offers access to treatment, housing and wrap-around services as an alternative to continued criminality and incarceration to reduce the incidence of drug-related property crimes, stop the cycle of criminality, maximize public resources, and increase outcomes by coordinating services.

In collaboration with BHU, SCT offers a direct, service-connected housing for individuals assigned to the Behavioral Health Response Team (BHRT).  The goal is to decrease police contact by assertively addressing the needs of individuals with mental health and co-occurring disorders.

Advisory Groups

The BHU continues to receive guidance and input from both internal and external advisory committees.  These committees provide recommendations on training, policy and procedures, and ideas on how to improve BHU and PPB.  Some of these groups include:

Mental Health Resources

NAMI Multnomah

BHU Newsletter