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Police cadets training for mental health patients
BEAUMONT-By: Leslie Rangel
Often times, we hear about crimes and shootings associated with people who may be dealing with a mental illness, but we don't often see the story behind it.
The cadets at the LIT police academy are training to deal with people who deal with mental illness related crisis.
Sergeant Rob Flores with the Beaumont Police Department is using his years of experience with the force to teach these cadets about what they might face in the field.
"Over 22 percent of our country can have a diagnosable mental illness at any time, An overwhelming majority of those people are living well. They're just trying to live their lives and manage their symptoms," Sgt. Flores says. "Very isolated incidents they are dangerous and that's how come we want to teach our officers to try to de-escalate when they're at the thought and word level."
This exercise is testing the cadets in how to handle a person who's dealing with psychosis and hallucinating.
"We teach them so many strategies and how to talk to someone, how to move around someone to not escalate the violence," Sgt. Flores said.
These cadets don't have badges yet and even when they get them, the lessons won't stop.
"Every time I train, I'm thinking about real life situations. How do I deal with them differently if i didn't feel like I did them the right way," Cory Green, an LIT cadet says.
Today, they had some things to learn. Sergeant Flores helped put the training in perspective.
"The majority of people who have mental health issues are not dangerous," Flores said.
But, in those isolated cases when there's a threat these men in training must be ready to go.
The LIT police academy is about 18 weeks long, this group will graduate in mid-December.