Police officers learn crisis intervention training in Oak Ridge

Police officers learn crisis intervention training in Oak Ridge

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Officers are learning new ways to deal with people who find themselves in a mental health crisis that can escalate into a full scale tragedy where the person is a danger to himself and others. Officers are learning new ways to deal with people who find themselves in a mental health crisis that can escalate into a full scale tragedy where the person is a danger to himself and others.
"I believe when we arrive on scene, we want to be mindful of how that person interacts with us today, tomorrow, the next day, and I think we provide an example of compassion," said Oak Ridge Police Patrolman Chris Luethge. "I believe when we arrive on scene, we want to be mindful of how that person interacts with us today, tomorrow, the next day, and I think we provide an example of compassion," said Oak Ridge Police Patrolman Chris Luethge.
Patrol officer Mark Jett came in from Columbia, Tenn. CIT isn't offered there, and like most officers, he deals with a crisis every day. Patrol officer Mark Jett came in from Columbia, Tenn. CIT isn't offered there, and like most officers, he deals with a crisis every day.

By LORI TUCKER
6 News Anchor/Reporter

OAK RIDGE (WATE) - Local police officers continue to add new tools to their crime fighting efforts, and the latest comes in the form of Crisis Intervention Training.

Officers are learning new ways to deal with people who find themselves in a mental health crisis that can escalate into a full scale tragedy where the person is a danger to himself and others.

CIT just wrapped up in Oak Ridge after a five day training last week.

It was made up of visits out in the community, and role playing in a classroom setting at Ridgeview Behavioral Center.

The class was made up of police officers, sheriff's deputies and mental health workers who came to learn the latest in how to respond to people in crisis.

"I believe when we arrive on scene, we want to be mindful of how that person interacts with us today, tomorrow, the next day, and I think we provide an example of compassion," said Oak Ridge Police Patrolman Chris Luethge.

"I think it's a big wake up call for a lot of the officers," said Jan Cagle of Ridgeview, who puts together the training.,

The latest class is the sixth held in Oak Ridge. More than 70 officers have specialized training in de-escalating situations involving mental illness that could quickly go out of control.

They are also building relationships with people in the mental health field.

"It's really helped us to expand our knowledge base and provide more appropriate care," Luethge said.

Patrol officer Mark Jett came in from Columbia, Tenn. CIT isn't offered there, and like most officers, he deals with a crisis every day.

"Paranoia, schizophrenia, things of that nature, so this training right here helps us to deal with that and how to keep the situation from being escalated," Jett said.

Mental health experts say one in four people suffers from mental illness.

Through crisis intervention training, the hope is to keep a majority out of jail and into treatment where for many, recovery is possible.

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