Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Cops get training in dealing with mental illness

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 9:22 AM

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As the Independent went to press yesterday with a cover story about police interactions with an Alzheimer's patient, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office announced upcoming training on how to best deal with those with mental issues.

Here's the release:
Members of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office will be joining with other law enforcement agencies for Mental Health First Aid Training, which is being provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Peak View Behavioral Health and the Bank of Colorado. This training will take place on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, at the Office of the Sheriff, located at 27 E. Vermijo Avenue.

Many of the individuals law enforcement encounter on a routine basis suffer from substance abuse and/or some form of mental illness. It is crucial for law enforcement to have a foundation for how to recognize those suffering from mental illness, be trained in what signs to look for when dealing with this population of our community, as well as be given tools on how to deescalate behavior and help them cope with the crisis they are facing.

We are excited about the partnership that has developed with NAMI, Peak View Behavioral Health and the Bank of Colorado. Their generosity has allowed for this training to be provided free of charge and we are grateful for their willingness to invest in our community.

According to NAMI, Colorado Springs Police Department and Fountain Police Department also are participating. To that we say, hurray, considering the incident highlighted in this week's edition of the Indy in which two officers struck an Alzheimer's patient several times, landing him in the hospital for a week.

Incidentally, the two officers, David Isue and Nicholas Ryland, remain on patrol duty, although the CSPD reports an internal affairs investigation of the incident is pending.

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