This week it’s back to the classroom for some area law enforcement officers.
Local police, sheriff’s officers and jailers are undergoing Crisis Intervention Training.
The goal of the training is to teach officers more about different mental illnesses, so that when a crisis does occur they are better equipped to handle the situation.
“Anytime you’re out on the street and you get a call for a service reference of someone that is going through a crisis situation, whether it be mental health or they’re dealing with a death in the family or any sort of very traumatic experience. It helps us have a little bit better understanding on how to approach them, talk to them and ultimately de-escalate the situation and make sure everyone’s safe,” said La Crosse Police Officer Dustin Darling.
Darling has been with the La Crosse Police Department for six years and is attending his first CIT session.
The training has been offered annually since 2006.
“I think we’re always looking at different ways we approach things,” says Lt. Avrie Schott of the La Crosse Police Department. “The techniques are still the same on teaching officers how to de-escalate a situation because we know how you approach somebody that is in crisis. How you’re able to recognize that somebody is in a crisis.”
Officers say being able to recognize what people are going through and being able to connect them to the right resources is beneficial for both them, and the community.
“A lot of times we’re dispatched to a call, it’s one sentence stating very minimal information and you have to get there and figure out what’s going on once you actually have that contact with the individual in question there. And it’s important to realize that you need to stay up on this type of training and you need to be able to have those contacts with people,” said Darling.
The three day training is one of several different trainings offered throughout the year to law enforcement.
All of which, Schott says, are intended to help keep officers and the community safe.