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Friday - May 12, 2017 3:52 am

Local law enforcement now trained to better deal with mental illness

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Twenty-three officers completed crisis intervention training this week.

Three days of training has given area law enforcement a better understanding of dealing with people who suffer from mental illness. 

Twenty-three members of the La Crosse Police Dept. and La Crosse County Sheriff's Office are now certified in Crisis Intervention Training.

La Crosse police sergeant Tom Walsh says dealing with subjects who are in crisis is a normal part of the job. 

"Providing our officers with good training techniques in be able to be able to deescalate and talk people down when they're having those crisis moments," Walsh said.

Initiatives of the program are to reduce chances of injury to officers and others, along with knowledge of local programs that can help an individual which may help after the fact. 

Walsh says officers learned how to deal with people with autism, PTSD among veterans and juveniles with mental illness.

Core outcomes of the CIT initiative were as follows:

Lower incidence of injury to the officers and others

Fewer repeat calls for service for patrol officers with mental health consumers

Enhanced working relationship of patrol officers with county crisis workers

Increased involvement of family and friends of the consumer as a crisis response alternative

Increased knowledge of community resources available to the consumer and family members which may assist with recovery

Drew Kelly

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