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Fort Smith region’s law enforcement, mental health officials train for de-escalation


The training largely focuses on de-escalation tactics that two organizations advise law enforcement and mental health officials to use when addressing someone who is having a mental health-related episode.


By Max Bryan
Times Record

A handful of law enforcement and mental health officials from all over the region have spent this week equipping themselves with skills to address civilians who suffer from mental illnesses.

Officials with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Arkansas and the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy are holding a weeklong Crisis Intervention Training course at the Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center. The training largely focuses on de-escalation tactics that the two organizations advise law enforcement and mental health officials to use when addressing someone who is having a mental health-related episode.

By the end of today, 30 law enforcement officials and four mental health care specialists from the area will have completed 40 hours of mental health-related training and hold a Crisis Intervention Training certification.

“This is our first training here,” Lt. Theodore Haase with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office said. Haase is the primary course instructor.

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Arkansas Executive Director Kim Arnold said the training is part of Arkansas Act 423, which mandates that 20 percent of all law enforcement in the state must eventually have Crisis Intervention Training certification. Haase said he and other state law enforcement officials started the training “about three years ago” and took off after Gov. Asa Hutchinson took interest. Read more.

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