Re: “Our View: Mental health looms large in fatal Maine police shootings” (Jan. 30):

Every police team in the country should read about the Criminal Mental Health Project, established by Judge Steve Leifman of the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida. The project’s goal is to divert individuals with serious mental illness and substance use disorders away from the criminal justice system into comprehensive community-based treatment and support systems.

The Press Herald editorial states that a report by an ad hoc Maine task force “doesn’t explicitly say whether any of these shootings could have been avoided if police had acted differently.” The Criminal Mental Health Project illustrates that if trained mental health responders work alongside a police force, confrontations can be averted. The project, first launched in South Florida, involves first responders arriving on the scene with police officers to assist the situation.

A well-trained police officer stopped my bipolar son as he wandered the streets at 1:30 a.m., talking to himself. My son panicked and called me for help. In time, he handed the phone to the officer. The concerned officer suggested he take my son to the hospital as perhaps his medication needed adjustment. I agreed. The hospital checked his medication levels and gave my son a bed for the night. Crisis averted.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office should study the Criminal Mental Health Project as it nears its 20th year. The project’s results are undeniable.