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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Law Enforcement Learn About Available Resources in CIT Training Thursday

LAWRENCE COUNTY - MAY 19, 2022 - Thursday marked the fourth day with local law enforcement officers took part of a 40 Hour Course in Crisis Intervention Team.

Local law enforcement was given information about local organizations and services they provide for those needing assistance in a mental health crisis

Thursday morning, the local law enforcement agencies learned what community resources are available to those experiencing a mental health crisis. These incidents whether, it be a mental breakdown, domestic violence situation, or other law enforcement encounter the officers were provided literature and contact information.

Local community-based organizations had representatives on hand to communicate what services their organization provides.

(Officers were given communication boards to help with communicating with children and adults for autism. There also communication boards available for EMS and Fire Department personnel available on request)

These organizations included Kristie Lofland, Autism Society, Heather Flynn, Men's Warming Shelter and SPIN, Shelia Bobay, Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program, Jason Linsey, Love Never Fails Church from West Baden, Greg Stanley St. Vincent De Paul Charities, Families Forever, and SCIL of Lawrence County.

Kristie Lofland talks about the Autism Society Indiana and services they provide to families with autism is an available source not only to law enforcement but the community in general to find information on organizations that are able to provide assistance based on what the need is at the time. This could be food pantries, or counseling services available to those in need.

Kathleen Sobiech representing Center for Rural Engagement with Indiana University says the training throughout the week focused on how to communicate, deescalate, and follow up.

" Law enforcement officer prior to the training felt frustrated in that they were wanting to help but did know where to direct them, this is a tool for those officers to use out in the field," said Sobiech.

Law enforcement officers learned the steps that are needed to help individuals in crises and legal requirements to get them help.

Local mental health providers are at capacity at this with the pandemic creating a larger impact on them, " There is a need for more mental health services," Sobiech added. "There may be a possibility that some clients can be put on waiting lists before they are able to gain access,"

The long-term goal of the CIT is to bring in judges, prosecutors and make sure that policies are up to date as well as, ensuring officers are aware of the protocols when dealing with those in crisis, how do they transport the person in crisis, and Mental Health Stigmas in the community.

The officers who attended this week's training will take what they have learned back to their respective departments. Many departments are short staffed so getting away to these kind of training sessions sometimes are difficult. For example, the West Baden Police Department who only has two officers is a challenge for that department.

There was a huge effort in putting the training together as well as the officers taking the time for the training itself. Plans in the future are to include emergency dispatchers to be incorporated in the training.

Hoosiers who are thinking about suicide or family or friends thinking about suicide can call a National Suicide and Crises Hotline by dialing 988. This number gives individuals someone to talk to and are trained for this kind of situation.

On Friday the officers will graduate from the training, and many local organizations helped support the training seminar with several speakers who taught the course or gave valuable information to those in attendance.

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