HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A week-long training program began today for local law-enforcement.
Law enforcement agencies gathered at the Hattiesburg Police Department Fire Training Academy in Hattiesburg for the training, which is aimed at teaching officers to de-escalate a scene rather than just arresting the suspect.
Crisis intervention teams are formed to aid people who are in a psychiatric crisis. The training is recognized by the department of public safety, with 24 hours of it being mental health training and another 16 hours of role-playing using de-escalation techniques.
Participating departments include the Forrest County Sheriff's Department, Forrest General Hospital public safety, Hattiesburg Police Department, Petal police and the Ellisville Police Department.
"The officers are taught to de/escalate at the scene, take them to treatment, or to a psychiatric facility or to calm them down and leave them
'as is' rather than to take them to jail," Crisis Intervention Training coordinator Linda Foley of Pine Belt Mental Health said. "This reduces jail cost, reduces injuries to the consumers and reduces injuries to the police."
The Jones County Sheriff's office is leading the training.