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Local Officers Participate in Crisis Intervention Training | Community Spirit

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Local Officers Participate in Crisis Intervention Training
Local Officers Participate in Crisis Intervention Training

DALLAS, GA -- Deputies and officers with the Paulding County Sheriff's Office, Hiram Police Department and Cartersville Police Department recently took part in extra training with the Georgia Crisis Intervention Team (CIT).

The 40 hours of training, which concluded on Friday, Feb. 11, will help the officers to more effectively assist individuals with mental illnesses and other brain disorders who are in crisis.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, individuals who have identified brain disorders constitute the most persecuted and least understood group of people in Georgia.

CIT is made up of professionals who are committed to people with mental disorders. The program has a strong partnership with local volunteers, including mental health advocates, consumers and family members. Trained CIT officers are prepared to aid this often overlooked population.

"We will ensure that law enforcement officers in Paulding County are providing a consistently high level of service to all community members, and afford those who suffer with brain disorders the same rights, dignity and access to police and other community services that are provided to all citizens," said Paulding County Sheriff Gary Gulledge.

Hiram Police Chief Gary Yandura was part of the very first graduating class of the Georgia CIT.

"Having a brain disorder is not a crime, and certain infractions such as traffic violations, loitering and even disorderly conduct may be a manifestation of a person's illness or failure to receive proper treatment for the illness, rather than the result of intentional wrongdoing," he said.

Chief Yandura added that CIT officers are trained to recognize certain signs of mental illnesses or other brain disorders and provide support and assistant to those individuals.

A few of the positive outcomes expected from this endeavor include:

* A decrease in the incarceration of people with mental illnesses
* A decrease in officer and consumer injuries
* Officers' interest in becoming advocates for the mentally ill
* An increase in mentally ill patients and their families willingly calling the police for help