In an effort to better inform and educate police officers who sometimes have to interact with people with mental illness, departments around the country are instituting specialized training. Does this training actually help to de-escalate potentially violent situations? According to new research, the answer is “Yes.”
Police officers who undergo this training are less likely to use force when dealing with a situation that involves a person with mental illness:
The study, published in a recent edition of the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin, surveyed 135 police officers from Atlanta about how they would handle three different scenarios involving mentally ill people. Forty-eight officers had received crisis-intervention team training, while 87 had not received the training.
Researchers discovered officers who underwent the training –known as the CIT Academy — chose to use less force in the third scenario presented to them.
There are numerous examples throughout the country of situations where police who haven’t undergone this training have used excessive force to deal with someone who apparently has mental illness.
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