Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Police Training for Dealing With the Mentally Ill

Police in  Hampton, Va., police are receiving training to deal with situations involving the mentally ill. Officers learn how to handle mentally ill people by responding with appropriate actions and dialogue. Since 2008, close to 310 officers around Virginia have participated in the Crisis Intervention Training program. According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, police injuries have been shown to decrease in situations with the mentally ill because of crisis intervention training.

These training exercises are an excellent idea. It allows officers and other responders to understand the individual with mental health problems and keep calm, rather than overreacting and  escalate into violence. Officers also go through simulations of the symptoms of mental illness such as hearing voices. They even visit treatment centers to get a better understanding of those involved. 

The article mentions that it's the officers' intentions to avoid arresting the mentally ill. Their goal is to take them to one of their crisis centers so they can get medical attention. It's the right idea to keep those with mentally illnesses out of jail. Being in jail won't help those with mental illnesses. Their symptoms and illness could deteriorate further, and they'll be ignored in a system already filled to capacity. They need to be treated outside of prisons so they can hopefully one day lead a normal and productive life.


-Tim Bowman

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