People in Crisis: Understanding the Impact of a Mental Health Response Unit on Police Culture

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Liles, James




The fatal Canadian police interactions involving Sammy Yatim, Robert Dziekanski, and Paul Boyd played a major role in developing and implementing mental health units (MHUs). Based on interview and direct observation data, this thesis examines the impact of a Canadian MHU on police culture. I argue that there are a number of possible cultures that can emerge within police organizations. This thesis demonstrates the pervasiveness of the perception of danger and the resulting camaraderie amongst MHU members. Specifically, I evaluate the perception of danger held amongst MHU members, their conceptions of partnership, and the importance of defending and assisting colleagues. Herein, I also argue that this MHU gives rise to an emerging service-based conceptualization of police culture. Here, I recognize the fluidity of police culture by examining the service-focused nature of the MHU, the application of discretion, and the measurement of success and emotional commitment amongst MHU members.


Criminology and Penology




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Legal Studies

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Theses and Dissertations

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