Four Pearl River County deputies complete Crisis Intervention Team training

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Four Pearl River County Sheriff’s deputies recently completed state-funded Crisis Intervention Team training in Meridian so they can better identify when a person is experiencing a mental crisis.
Sgt. Sherman Gaspard, Cpl. Kristy Boyd, Sgt. David Bean and Cpl. Josh Hansen attended the 40-hour training course in Meridian in May and August, Chief Deputy Shane Tucker said.
However, Boyd now works for the Poplarville Police Department, he said.
Poplarville Police Chief Butch Raby said Boyd will use her training in her new job.
Raby said he also hopes other officers will attend the training.
Because of Boyd’s departure from the Sheriff’s Department, Tucker said he hopes to send one more deputy for training in the next couple of months so at least one deputy on each shift will be CIT certified.
The course helps law enforcement officers determine if a person is suffering from a mental crisis rather than just being intoxicated. It also helps them distinguish between people in need of immediate attention and those who can seek medical or psychiatric help later, Tucker said.
“From a safety aspect, if a deputy is dealing with someone and don’t realize they’re in a mental crisis, they might approach the situation wrong,” he said.
When a person is determined to need mental assistance, the department can contact local resources to provide the help they need, Tucker said.
The cost of the training is covered by the state, he said; the department only has to pay patrol deputies to cover shifts while someone is at training.
While the plan is to train one more deputy, ideally the entire staff, patrolmen and investigators would receive long-term training.
“The more we have trained the better,” Tucker said. “If there’s some issue, or call, for instance where there’s somebody that’s a candidate for this, that [trained] person on that shift can go and help.”
County leaders previously considered hosting the CIT training and establish a local hospital or clinic, where residents experiencing a mental crisis can receive care.
Though that program takes time to establish, Tucker said it hasn’t been discussed recently and a single facility to provide that care hasn’t been established.
Currently, when an individual in need of mental care has been identified, he said the department calls the Gulf Coast Mental Health Center to assist.
But for now, Tucker said the department is trying to get its staff numbers back up by hiring more deputies before others can receive the CIT training.

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About Julia Arenstam

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