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NLU Alum Helping Chicago Police, Fire, Respond to Mentally Ill The advanced training should help to prevent harm to mentally ill or others

A screenshot from the ABC7 News feature shows NLU alum Leslee Stein-Spencer talking about how Chicago firefighters, police and paramedics will get training in how to deal with situations involving the mentally ill.

Often, police, paramedics and firefighters respond to 911 calls and find a person in crisis or a chaotic situation. Sometimes, the person at the center of the situation is not a criminal intent on malice, but a mentally ill person in a panic.

In order to de-escalate the level of tension, calm the situation and prevent harm, the Chicago police and fire departments are providing training to personnel on how to respond to the mentally ill. NLU alum Leslee Stein-Spencer, Director of Medical Administration and Regulatory Compliance for the Chicago Fire Department, is at the center of these efforts.

ABC7 News featured Stein-Spencer in a news item about how police, firefighters and paramedics, as well as 911 operators and dispatchers, will get Crisis Intervention Training starting in February.

“When the person calls in with a medical emergency, the dispatcher knows what type of questions to ask, what kind of information to elicit from this patient, and that information goes out to our teams,” Stein-Spencer says in the news footage.

Stein-Spencer received her MS in Management/Development of Human Resources in 1986. She received NLU’s Reach award, an honor for highly-accomplished alumni, in 2005.

View the WLS-TV news ABC7 footage here.

Stein-Spencer is a registered nurse who has been managing emergency medical services for more than 30 years. She has  led bioterrorism and EMS initiatives.

She previously served as  Chief of EMS for the state of Illinois. In that role, she helped rewrite Illinois’ EMS Act, developed a statewide trauma system, developed a state medical disaster plan involving all Illinois hospitals and EMS providers, and developed a multidisciplinary medical volunteer response system.

At the Chicago Fire Department, Stein-Spencer is  responsible for preparedness and response activities, as well as all the department’s regulatory issues involving EMS personnel.

She has developed the largest EMS simulation center in the Midwest,  a Mobile Sim Lab and  numerous educational programs for Chicago Fire Department staff and response partners.