Local Law Enforcement Agencies Collaborate to Improve Services for Mentally Ill

ROCK COUNTY (WIFR) -- The Rock County Sheriff’s Office, Janesville Police Department, Beloit Police Department and the Town of Beloit Police Department were recently awarded a second grant for $50,000 to train law enforcement officers in Crisis Intervention Techniques. They received this award from the State of Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance to train officers to more effectively respond to incidents involving those suffering from mental illness within our community.

Rock County law enforcement agencies first received training funds for this initiative last year where local mental health care providers teamed with state experts to provide 31 local officers with a much greater insight into the lives of those with mental illness. Officers interacted with mentally ill subjects in their homes, met with family members, and through the use of special technology, even had the opportunity to experience symptoms that some of the mentally ill struggle with every day. Along with achieving a better understanding of the mentally ill, officers were trained in specific de-escalation techniques to better control situations involving subjects who are in crisis.

Due to the success of that program, Rock County was chosen to receive a second grant, which will allow many more officers to be trained in these techniques during the week of September 9th through the 13th. Acquiring these grants and coordinating this training has been a significant task and the involved agencies would like to express our appreciation to the Rock County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, the Rock County Human Services Department, the Behavioral Health Redesign Steering Committee, the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office, the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), as well as, the Waukesha chapter of that organization. Additionally, we would like to thank the many experts in this field that participated in providing the training.

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