A group of local police and mental health experts are in their ninth month of studying how to eliminate unnecessary Portland police encounters with people suffering from mental illness and have reviewed 40 nonfatal encounters since March 2009.

“If we don’t fund the community health system, unfortunately we’re vulnerable for these events to occur,” said Dr. William Nunley, the study’s project coordinator who works with Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

Read: Portland Chief Mike Reese vows to search for ways to reduce police use of deadly force