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New York City's Most Wanted List of Mentally Ill Patients

By February 21, 2013

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The NYPD is searching for individuals who are on a 'Most Wanted' list, but this time the individuals on the list are mentally ill. These individuals have court-ordered treatment. According to the NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, "Recently, at the request of the Health Department, the NYPD attempted to locate individuals required to receive mental health treatment. None are wanted criminals. NYPD investigators determined that in some instances the subjects had moved out of state, and in other cases the individuals were located and returned to treatment. Others are still being sought."

The Department of Health stated that the individuals, if found, would be taken to a hospital, not jail, and that "all of these patients are receiving treatment for mental health conditions. If they do not receive sustained treatment... they could pose some risk to themselves, family members or others." Read their privacy notice here: NYC DOHMH Notice of Privacy.

The NYPD's Real Time Crime Center is being used to track down individuals with mental hygiene warrants. The DOH is making personal medical information available to the police department, and it is not known exactly how the NYPD will keep the information private after they receive it. What if everyone who takes anti-depressants is added to a list of people who "could pose some risk", courtesy of the Department of Health and their local police department? We could be on a slippery slope if we make having a mental illness a crime, all in the name of public safety.

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