The Community I Serve

Police officers and mental health advocates agree that specialized training that prepares officers to understand and recognize psychiatric symptoms and learn new skills to de-escalate mental illness crisis situations promotes the safety and well being of both police officers and those affected by mental illness.

The Community I Serve: Law Enforcement & Persons with Mental Illness is a 26-minute training film that presents the real life experience of law enforcement personnel, people with mental illness and their families. The film challenges stereotypes of law enforcement officers as rigid and uncaring, and shows the many roles that they are called on to perform. Scenarios taken from real encounters are presented, and are used to illustrate symptom recognition, verbalization skills and officer interaction with people with mental illness.

NAMI NJ is grateful to the members of the Collingswood, NJ Police Department, the Union County, NJ office of the Prosecutor, and people with mental illness and family members of NAMI NJ for the dedication and enthusiasm in which they immersed themselves in this project. The very process of producing this film clearly illustrates that law enforcement personnel and mental health advocates can come together in mutual respect and cooperation to have a positive impact on our communities.

The Community I Serve has won the Best of Competition in the Educational/Instructional category of the Broadcast Education Association(BEA)’s Festival of Media Arts, as well as the King Family Foundation “Best of Festival” award at BEA. Omusha Communications is the producer of this documentary. To learn more about Omusha Communications, visit their website at

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