Training Addresses Police Mental Health Response

To help better serve the community, several law enforcement officers are going through some extra training this week focused on mental health response.

Posted: Oct 16, 2017 7:10 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2017 10:42 AM

ST. JOSEPH, Mo.

To help better serve the community, several law enforcement officers are going through some extra training this week focused on mental health response.

"I know that we run into a lot of subjects who have mental health needs and I think this will help me a lot to help them kind of figure out the help that they need for those types of situations," St. Joseph Police Officer Sarah Nolte said.

Over 20 officers throughout northwest Missouri are going through crisis intervention team training--known as CIT. This comes after over 30 officers went through the training in the spring.

Last month alone, officers responded to over 90 mental health related calls, according to the St. Joseph Police Department. They expect the numbers to go up with the coming holidays.

"We wear numerous hats so this is just one of those additional responsibilities that we in law enforcement have to incur now. It makes you feel good that you have an overwhelming response to the training," St. Joseph Police Sgt. James Langston said.

The officers go through both classroom and hands-on experience during the week-long training.

The purpose is to help them get a better understanding of how they can help in a more effective way.

"Effectively communicate with mental ill subjects and reduce, use of force issues and hopefully save somebody's life," Langston said.

With more officers working to get certified, this is another step in making an impact on mental health response.

"I think it's super helpful for all officers on the street," Nolte said. "I think it's something that everyone needs to learn about and go through. Mental health is everywhere. It's not just in a certain area. It affects everyone differently."

The local program leaders hope to get more officers certified.

Click here to see more on what the Northwest Missouri CIT team is doing throughout the community.

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