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Officers get tips on mental crisis intervention

Officers get tips on mental crisis intervention



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Some police officers in northern Utah are going back to school in hopes of better dealing with people facing a mental crisis.

Police are not necessarily talking about a standoff in which a criminal is threatening violence. They're talking about people with mental illness or substance abuse issues who may or may not have a grasp on the reality of an intense situation.

"So it's trying to reintroduce them to what is reality around them at that point, trying to keep them calm," said Salt Lake police Detective Ron Bruno.

He helps teach a 40-hour class to help officers better deal with and hopefully diffuse some situations. Bruno says nationally, the program has significantly reduced the need for the use of force by officers.

The class also teaches officers about available resources to help people get assistance before their behavior escalates to violence.

The Salt Lake City Police Department is hosting three training academies for officers in Weber County, Salt Lake City and Brigham City over the next month. Bruno says about 10 percent of all law enforcement officers are certified in Critical Intervention Training. The goal is 25 percent.

E-mail: mgiauque@ksl.com

Marc Giauque

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