JOPLIN, Mo. — Our local law enforcement officers are brushing up on their skills.
They’re learning more about mental health issues and how to resolve conflict with someone who may be in crisis, before it turns deadly.
That’s the next part of our series The Suicide Crisis: Prevention, Information, And Awareness.
Tensions are high in this scenario, but thankfully it’s just a role playing exercise.
Stephen McCullough, Freeman Ozark Center Licensed Professional Counselor, said, “It’s a new way of policing and a new way of thinking.”
Dozens of our local law enforcement recently took part in crisis intervention training held by the Freeman Ozark Center.
“It gives them an overview of how to recognize and interact with people with major mental illness.”
Cpl. Ketrina Jones, JPD CIT Co-Coordinator, said, “A majority of our calls that we go on involve some type of mental illness, involves some type of substance abuse, involves something that we deal with and that we have training here for.”
Marvin McCracken, Monett PD SRO, said, “De-escalation. And, you know, how to talk to people who are going through, you know, most of the time, what seems like the worst moment of their life.”
It’s a 40 hour course the center has been providing for law enforcement officers for more than a decade.
“We go over suicide risk detection. We actually talk to them about some involuntary detention, so that if somebody is having a suicide crisis, what are their options for getting them help and getting them treatment?” said McCullough.
And, the course builds a relationship between the Ozark Center and law enforcement officers in case of future incidents.
“You know, what can I do, what are my options? And they’ll be right there on the phone with me and it’s absolutely grown our relationship between departments and them,” said Jones.
“We even learned a lot on our side because there are things that we don’t think about in mental health that law enforcement teaches us,” said McCullough.
“Just understanding where they’re coming from and the thoughts that they may be having also helps us to better do that,” said McCracken.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health and needs someone to talk to, we urge you to call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-talk.
We also have more resources for you on fourstateshomepage.comcom — just click on the news tab and then the suicide crisis link.