YELLOW SPRINGS — More than 40 law enforcement officers from Greene, Clark and Madison counties graduated from a week-long mental health training program Friday.
Officers from the Yellow Springs, Xenia, Sugarcreek, Fairborn, Beavercreek, London and Springfield police departments, as well as from the Greene and Clark county sheriff’s offices, and from Wittenberg University, took part in the 40-hour course. The local training is put on annually by CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) International and the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties (MHRB).
“[Officers] learn about mental illness, about the medications that are used to treat that,” MHRB Director of Programs and Communication Roselin Runnels said. “We have a day … where they learn about taking care of themselves and the secondary trauma they experience. They get to ride along with case managers, go to agencies, see what’s going on and they hear from a number of panels.”
Course participants heard from specialists and health professionals about mental illness, trauma, area resources and service access, as well as learned about and practiced de-escalation techniques.
“It’s valuable because it keeps both the officer and the community safe,” Runnels said. “There are ways to intervene with an individual who has a mental health crisis that keep both the officer safe and the individual safe and hopefully direct the individual to the treatment that they need.”
According to Runnels, CIT encourages officers to access crisis facilities, when appropriate, to redirect individuals in crisis away from the criminal justice system.
“This fosters engagement into the behavioral health system for linkages to long term treatment and services which affects sustainable change in the community,” she wrote in an email.
This is the 11th year the training has been put on locally. This year’s graduating class is the largest ever class, according to MHRB officials.