Mental health program to teach law enforcement about issue

Mental health program to teach law enforcement about issue

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - A plan to offer mental health training to police, based on a plan in Memphis, may be the model for a new program in Little Rock and statewide, officials said Monday.

The group of three mental health professionals and two law enforcement officers met Monday in Little Rock to go over creating an enhanced crisis intervention training program.

According to a report by Little Rock television station KARK, the initial program was created by the Shelby County Sheriff's Office in 2015. A Pulaski County Sheriff's Office official said law enforcement are often the first people to see mental health problems on a daily basis.

"We get calls all the time to suicidal subjects, subjects in crisis," Lt. Theodore Haase of the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office said. "It's multiple times a day. A lot of times, people with mental illnesses are the most vulnerable amongst our community. We're here to help them and try to make sure that lives get saved."

As of now, there are 55 police, sheriff's deputies and medical professionals who are trained in crisis intervention.

Arkansas legislators approved a bill earlier this year, which was signed into law, to offer more training with funding from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy.

The one-week course will be taught in five separate regions of the state, with a goal of training 20% of law enforcement in the state.

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