Southern Colorado officers learn how to better respond to mental health calls | Mental Health Colorado Action Dashboard
Fox 21 News
Nov 29, 2018

Southern Colorado officers learn how to better respond to mental health calls

By: Daniela Leon

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Police officers get mental health calls for service on a regular basis.

"A large percentage of the calls we get do involve some level of mental illness," said Colorado Springs Police Sgt. Curt Hassling.

Twenty-nine officers from law enforcement agencies across southern Colorado took part in a 40-hour crisis intervention training throughout the week. Denver-based actors acted out real life scenarios involving mental health, giving officers the chance to work through the call.

"Every call we go on, it's the most important call," CSPD Officer Kyle Johnson said. "In order to serve those with mental illness, this is really important training because our job."

The training is done three times a year. Eventually, each officer and deputy serving the Pikes Peak region will undergo the exercise.

"This is a huge benefit to law enforcement," Hassling said. "This gives officers and deputies the opportunity to learn how to better interact, cope and deescalate situations involving mental illness."

To these officers, it's all about saving the lives of those in need.

"We are trying to bridge that gap between a subculture of society suffering from mental illness and mental health issues, and we are trying to do a better job of policing so we can come with the best possible solution," Johnson said.