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Metro area police train to improve response to mental health-related calls

Posted at 11:00 AM, Mar 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-01 17:38:37-05

LIBERTY, Mo. — Responding to a mental health-related call can be dangerous for many, including law enforcement officers. 

Several departments from the Northland are participating in a specialized, 40-hour training that prepares first responders to de-escalate crisis situations. 

"Oftentimes you'll find that while you have an individual who maybe appears to have committed a crime, there's often an underlying addiction problem or a mental health problem," said Sgt. Tracy Wade with the Clay County Sheriff's Office. 

On Thursday, local agencies heard from experts in the mental health field about how to be better equipped to manage any mental health crisis they encounter. 

"It's a health condition just like anything else, and so we're trying to remove that stigma and we're trying to get a new perspective and a little bit more empathy so we can help the individual," said Wade. 

The basic Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) is modeled after the CIT program developed in Memphis, Tennessee. CIT is being utilized by many agencies in the country and internationally.