As a community we want our law enforcement agencies to have the most up to date training. L.D. 534, titled “An Act to Increase Crisis Intervention Training in the State,” is a bill designed to ensure that law enforcement officers in Maine have the most comprehensive training available when it comes to dealing with people who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

According to the Maine attorney general’s office, 42 percent of people shot by law enforcement officers since 2000 were individuals experiencing a mental health event. These statistics illustrate how important it is to pass L.D. 534 and mandate that at least 20 percent of law enforcement officers in municipal police departments and in county sheriff’s departments complete the Memphis model of Crisis Intervention Training, known as CIT.

This 40-hour training is coordinated by National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine in collaboration with local mental health and substance abuse providers. CIT intends to create a relationship and alliance between law enforcement, mental health providers and the individuals and families affected by mental illness.

I was fortunate to attend one of the CIT training sessions and it was impressive. Law enforcement officers were eager to ask questions about the best methods for de-escalation and how to encourage compliance. Having a department that is aware and prepared to deal with the unique challenges that can arise from dealing with a person in the midst of the mental health crisis offers immeasurable benefits.

Please join me in supporting L.D. 534, a bill for the safety of law enforcement and the community.

Danielle Walsh

Morrill


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