Law-enforcement officials in the area and from as far away as Marquette have been participating in Crisis Intervention Training at Glen Oaks Community College.
T. J. Baker, CIT instructor on behalf of the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s department, said the focus is to help participants identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness.
The program emphasizes communication skills to help de-escalate a crisis situation, stressing the importance of the exchange that occurs during the initial contact. The 40-hour course involves simulated role-playing scenarios so participants can apply the classroom skills they learned to real-life situations.
Baker said a life-size video monitor is used to present a real-life experience that force participants to make on-the-spot decisions on how to continue to de-escalate the situation, and whether that involves shooting or tasing.
Sixteen law enforcement/corrections officers participated in last week’s program and another 11 are participating this week.