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Cadets undergo crisis intervention training
BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull
Future law enforcement officers are learning how to handle criminal suspects or people on the street who have mental health issues during crisis intervention training.
"Officer safety is the number one tactic that we can teach them," Beaumont Police Sergeant Rob Flores said.
Cadets learned when to use force for their safety and the public's.
"You don't have to use it every time, that's a last measure," Scott Zelner, a cadet, said.
"I'm learning a lot as far as how people behave and how to work with them one on one versus hands on," Nicole Malina, another cadet, said.
They also learned how to avoid using force and how to handle any people they encounter with a mental illness.
"We have to teach our officers how to very effectively and safely de-escalate someone who's in a mental health crisis," Flores said.
22 students in LIT's Regional Police Academy underwent crisis intervention training Thursday with Beaumont Police Officers.
"Everybody sees the cops out there putting hands on people and you know, making arrests and it's a little more to it than that," Jesse Lisenby, a cadet, said.
Cadets rotated through four different scenarios to learn not just when to use deadly force, but how to talk to someone with a mental illness.
"Most of those people are not any more dangerous than the average person," Flores said. "There are some instances where the people are not being treated or are refusing to be treated that can escalate into some type of crisis which may lead to violence."
Flores said they taught the trainees how to avoid an escalation of violence using verbal skills.
They're techniques the future law enforcement officers will likely need because about one out of every 17 Americans suffers from a serious mental illness according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
"Just talking to them can help them out in drastic ways," Zelner said.
The cadets will continue their academy classes Friday, ahead of May graduation.