Local law enforcement agencies complete Crisis Intervention Training

Representatives from Pine Belt law enforcement agencies trained to deal with mental health issues
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 6:37 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) -Law enforcement agencies across the Pine Belt learned how to serve and protect those during a critical time.

Friday, 16 law enforcement members graduated from the week-long Crisis Intervention Training course.

Pine Belt agencies sending representatives for the 40-hour CIT training included the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office and Stone County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the Hattiesburg Police Department, the Petal School Police Department and the University of Southern Mississippi’s Safety Patrol.

Petal School District Police Chief Gavin Guy said the training helps open officers’ eyes to different mental health situations.

“You know, I went through this class about eight years ago and I wish I would have gotten this training when I was on the street because the things I got to take away from it is it teaches you how to deal with individuals who are going through some sort of mental health crisis,” Guy said.

Officers and sheriff’s deputies have the opportunity to go through this training course once a year.

“If you come on a call and a subject is having suicidal thoughts or any type of mental health issues you just talk them down and let them know you are there for them to get them some help,” said Guy.

Samantha Mahler, Regional CIT coordinator, said the training partners with National Alliance on Mental Illness and mental health hospitals.

Mahler said those taking the class also hear from metal health care advocates.

“We do a whole day training of touching on the mental illness on children and the signs and symptoms to look out for, for law enforcement,” Mahler said. “I think this is very important in today’s society. We like to help these children and get them into a treatment process if we can.”

With students playing a large role in his job, University of Southern Mississippi Patrol officer Rodrekious Rankin says he wanted to go through CIT to be prepared for any situation.

“It’s very important because we know how to deal with them when we see the issues and when we see them out, we would know what they are going through,” said Rankin.

The following are the 16 CIT Graduates:

Forrest County Sheriff’s Office

  • Larry Allen
  • Zach Ruple.

Hattiesburg Police Department

  • Jomez Applewhite
  • Tyler Cone
  • Payton Mills
  • Khristian Potts
  • Michael Ritter
  • Jacob Smith.

Petal School Police Department

  • Alyssa Chandlee
  • Adam Parker.

Stone County Sheriff’s Department

  • Nick Freeman.

University of Southern Mississippi Safety Patrol

  • Rodrekious Rankin
  • Adam Rittenhouse.

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