Sikeston DPS holds training for handling mental health encounters
SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Mental Health is a problem one in 25 Americans live with, and local police departments are making sure they know to how address someone dealing with it.
Sikeston DPS partnered with the Bootheel Counseling Center for a week-long training session on how to deal with people with mental health issue.
Officers got the chance to visit the Poplar Bluff Mental Health Center to get an inside look at the process of recovery and how counselors work with patients.
Captain Jim McMillian said with the tense situations officers are in daily, it's important for them to be able to tell the difference.
"Officers basically need to be aware that maybe someone that they come across and they need to know how to handle that," McMillian said. "And need to try to get services for them people if they need it!"
McMillian said many police academies do not train on this issue and calls the training crucial in improving policing in the community.
"Its pretty prevalent and officers need to know how to deal with that," he said. "They need to know the resources in their community and its important. We're trying to teach officers that they have an obligation to get people services when they need services."
Michael Ziegler works with the Bootheel Counseling Center and calls the training imperative to getting people the true help they need.
'It enables them to interpret what's happening," Ziegler said. "The behavior of the subject that they're dealing with, in a way that can alert them to the fact that maybe what they're needing is help with mental health issues, rather than jail."
This training comes after a push by Missouri lawmakers for police departments to address mental health encounter solutions with officers.
McMillian said they plan to hold a training session every year.
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