Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area 2005 graduate Lieutenant Chuck Kirkham always knew that he wanted to help make the public a safer place. Kirkham, who serves as both a police officer and firefighter, has spent 28 years working with the City of Silicon Valley Public Safety Department located in the California Bay Area.
Despite having years of experience working in Public Safety, Kirkham knew that in order to keep up with a constantly changing society that he had to continue to be as knowledgeable as possible in his field. After hearing about the Forensic Psychology master's degree program offered at Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area from a friend who also attended Argosy University, Kirkham decided to enroll in the program. "Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area gave me a lot of working knowledge. It opened my mind up to the world of mental health and how it relates to law enforcement," explains Kirkham.
Kirkham, recognizing there was a great need to establish a better relationship between the mentally ill and the law enforcement, has help to create a program within his Department of Public Safety. The goal of his Crisis Intervention Program is to bring about better methods of dealing with the mentally ill, who are becoming a greater portion of the Department of Public Safety's client base. "There is a need for more program that address the way law enforcement deals with the mentally ill. Instead of always arresting the mentally ill, there needs to be a better way of dealing with them" explains Kirkham. "The mental health field is under funded. Therefore the people who need treatment don't always get it, which usually leads to the involvement of law enforcement."
Kirkham's continuous commitment to educating others about issues dealing with mental health and law enforcement stem from his participation in the Forensic Psychology program at Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area. "The Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area program was a tremendous help. It opened up doors to information and research dealing with mental health which has helped me to create better training techniques within my department," states Kirkham.
In the future, Kirkham wishes to help establish a training program that will standardize policies of how law enforcement responds to issues dealing with the mentally ill.