Police get important training with mental issues

One topic that continues to make its way into both the national and local conversation is the current state of mental health treatment.

Mass shootings, homelessness, veterans struggling to adapt back to civilian society and other issues steer the talk back to mental health in this country, and an agreed sentiment that we’re just not doing enough to give people the kind of help they need. And when people with mental or emotional struggles don’t get the help they need, they often fall victim to their ailments and act out in ways that put themselves or others in harm.

Some local police departments have recently taken steps to help their officers better identify someone who might be struggling with a mental affliction, and to better resolve situations when they do recognize it. South Bethany and Ocean View police officers have taken advantage of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program, and members of both departments feel they’ve gotten a lot out of the program.

One example was cited by Ocean View Cpl. Rhys Bradshaw, and it pertained to encountering someone who might be schizophrenic and suffer delusions.

“For them, it’s real,” said Bradshaw. "Just because I can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. You don’t want to just dismiss that person, because then they might get worse for you, get violent with you.”

The training also helps officers deal with elderly people who might be disoriented. In this community, filled with retirees, canals and waterways, that training could be vital in saving a life.