U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

How To Reduce Repeat Encounters: A Brief for Law Enforcement Executives

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2019
2 pages
This instructional brief outlines four steps that law enforcement executives can take to address the needs of people whose ongoing living conditions and behaviors continually require police intervention.
Often called "high utilizers," these individuals have frequent contact with police and other emergency services for typically low-level, misdemeanor crimes or non-emergency concerns. Many have untreated behavioral health needs, homelessness, and social service needs. Police regular interventions with these people strain limited law enforcement resources and frustrate police officers who feel helpless to change the ongoing problem. The four steps outlined for addressing the problem of "high utilizers" are to 1) identify people in the community who are high ultilizers, 2) develop alternate response options, 3) establish clear policies and procedures for encounters, and 4) review performance regularly. The first step involves the collection and analysis of data that enable the identification of high utilizers and the ongoing factors that perpetuate police contacts. Such data become the foundation for step two, which is the development of alternate response options for making a constructive change in the circumstances underlying the frequent police contacts. This step should include the establishment of an interagency workgroup to leverage additional resources for the design and implementation of effective health and social service interventions. Step three involves the establishment of clear policies and procedures for the roles and responsibilities of officers in managing an effective intervention in accordance with the policy options previously developed. Step four requires regular evaluations of the model and its implementation as the basis for improving responses.

Date Published: December 1, 2019