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Michigan State University Police holds crisis intervention training

Participants go through scenarios that have components such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, and suicidal thoughts.
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Police from around mid-Michigan are learning better ways to deal with people with mental health problems.

The Tri-County Crisis Intervention team, or CIT, along with Michigan State University police, hosted the annual event.

It helps officers gain leadership skills and the proper resources to use when dealing with more complex situations.

This training is about bringing communities and organizations together, but not just with police departments.

“We had several security officers here from some of our local hospitals, and some public school security personnel as well,” MSU Police Dept. Captain Chris Rozman said.

Crisis intervention training is a partnership between local law enforcement, community mental health of Eaton, Clinton, and Ingham county, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI.

“It’s really a combination of learning how to be a more effective law enforcement officer but it also is the ability to interact with people in the mental health community and better understand exactly what is going on with individuals,” NAMI Lansing President Kevin Keeler said.

Participants go through scenarios that have components such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, and suicidal thoughts.

“This program and this training really opened my eyes that it’s more than just stepping in to solve a problem or be an answer for them,” East Lansing Police Officer Katelynn Bennett said. “It goes so much further after I’ve talked to them or after you’ve told me what’s wrong,”

Officers say it’s important to do training like this as law enforcement gets many behavioral health calls on a daily basis.

“Cops remain really good social workers. I think it brings our local law enforcement partners together, collaborating together, being able to work together,” Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth said. “Although it’s scenario based, we can learn a lot from each other and that’s really what happens on a day like today.”

It’s a community effort, giving officers ways to improve their own strategies, and people in need.

“We’re always trying to be better, to do better, to collaborate and train and this is an example of that,” Wriggelsworth said. “We’ll continue to do that in the future because we always want to do better for the communities that we protect and serve.”

This year’s training involved 39 officers representing 11 police agencies. With this 2021 training complete, there are over 300 total CIT officers in the Greater Lansing area.

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