Police officers from local area police departments met Friday at the Boone County Sheriff’s Department Annex to receive crisis intervention training.
The training, which is conducted annually, taught officers how to deal with situations involving suicidal citizens and those dealing with other mental health issues.
“It is to give law enforcement an awareness of the issues and an extra tool to be aware of what they can do in a situation,” said Courtney Johnson, who was running the training and serves as the community mental health liaison for Boone County and nine other Missouri counties.
Officers simulated situations in which they would have to deal with suicidal citizens. In one simulation, officers pretended to respond to a call from a man worried that his brother might commit suicide.
Johnson said the goal was “to get people to see you as a person, to see them as a person and understand what they’re going through.”
Phillip Shull, who has served as a member of the crisis negotiations team at Columbia Police Department for eight years, also helped run the training.
Andrew Glines, an officer from the Fulton Police Department, was one of the officers taking the training. He learned that when you’re dealing with a situation like this, it’s more complex than just following a procedure.
“Biggest takeaway is that there’s never a right and wrong way to do something,” he said. “It’s just giving you resources on how to help.”
Glines thinks this will make him a better officer, and he wants readers to know that police officers are trying to do more on these issues.
“We’re not just here to arrest people; we’re here to help people, too,” he said, “and this is a good resource to do that.”
Supervising editor is Fred Anklam Jr.