Nov. 7 – Mental Health Response Advisory Committee (MHRAC)
Covered by Documenters Sarah Tan and Marvetta Rutherford

The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County
The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County. Credit: Jeff Haynes

What happened: The City of Cleveland will soon operate the Mental Health Response Advisory Committee (MHRAC) on its own. The Cuyahoga County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS) is stepping away from MHRAC. It has been Cleveland’s partner in running the committee since 2015, when it was formed as part of Cleveland’s reform under a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree. ADAMHS officials informed MHRAC members of their decision in this meeting. They said they gave the city a 45-day notice. That is the minimum notice required by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two parties. Cleveland Public Safety Director Karrie Howard is set to meet with ADAMHS officials to discuss the transition.

CIT personnel questioned: Meeting participants discussed the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) selections for crisis-intervention team (CIT) personnel. New CIT Coordinator Captain Heather Miksch attended the meeting. The CIT coordinator has served as one of three chairs of MHRAC. ADAMHS Board Member Rev. Benjamin Gohlstin raised concerns about Black representation among CDP’s CIT leaders. Josiah Quarles, with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, questioned the extent of Miksch’s CIT training. DOJ rep Mike Evanovich attended the meeting. He said people should direct hiring questions to the chief of police. 

Left wondering: Documenter Sarah Tan asked, “What do the various stakeholders need to feel more positive about working together on issues of policing and mental-health crisis intervention?”

The city’s consent decree with the DOJ required the creation of MHRAC. The committee focuses on law enforcement’s response to people experiencing mental-health issues. Visit the ADAMHS website to find MHRAC’s annual reports dating back to 2015.

Cleveland Documenters pays and trains people to cover public meetings where government officials discuss important issues and decide how to spend taxpayer money.