Jackson County law enforcement starting week-long mental health training

MEDFORD, Ore.– Jackson County Mental Health is beginning a week-long training course today.

It’s designed to help law enforcement handle mental health crises.

The training covers a number of different topics including substance use and trauma.

One law enforcement agency said this training is used on a daily basis.

Central Point Police Lieutenant Josh Abbott said, “for us, helping people is not always incarcerating people. It’s making connections and getting people the help they need.”

12 officers from three different agencies are taking part in a full week of mental health first aid training.

Jackson County Mental Health plans to host two of these training weeks a year.

JCMH said this training can have a large impact on our community because of how often its used.

JCMH Crisis Services Manager Rick Rawlins said, “law enforcement, they are often the first responders out in the community working with individuals that are having a crisis. Giving them additional tools and additional resources to help them be more effective is not only better for law enforcement but also helps our community be safer.”

JCMH said the training includes presentations from 25 different community partners and live training scenarios.

Central Point Police sent four of its officers to training this week.

Abbott said the training reduces arrest rates and drastically reduces use of force when officers are out on patrol.

He said, “I think that most officers anecdotally can talk about the fact that on a day to day basis they’re probably required to respond to some form of crisis, depending on what level that might be.”

Abbott said he took the same training course back in 2013.

He said the most impactful part of training were the panels with people who had gone through substance abuse and mental health interventions.

“Showing us the successes of people who have gotten through it and are now on the other side of that and how police have helped them or even some valid criticisms where we didn’t help them as much as we could have,” Abbott said.

Rawlins said community and officer safety is the main goal of the training.

Abbott said CPPD hopes to send more officers to the next training in October.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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