KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A group of more than two dozen law enforcement officers, first responders, and Knox County School staff graduated from Crisis Intervention Team training on Friday, July 16, 2021.

The attendees underwent 40 hours of intensive training to help them identify mental health resources to assist people in crisis. They are given connections with mental health professionals and community agencies to create a team to help provide support during a challenging situation occurs. Verbal de-escalation skills and experience scenario-based training are also taught.

“CIT training has numerous benefits for both the trained official and the community,” said Candace Allen, CIT coordinator and senior director of adult intensive mental health services at the McNabb Center. “The increased knowledge of behavioral health and skills, such as de-escalation techniques, will help officers when they encounter an individual in psychiatric crisis.”

This graduating class included staff from American Medical Response, the University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, University of Tennessee Police Department, Knox County Schools and the Knoxville Police Department.