JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind — The Johnson County Sheriff's Department now has one of the few, full-time teams dedicated to training officers on responding to mental health or trauma calls. The hope is to get every officer trained across the state.
Most of the 911 calls the sheriff's department receives are related to mental health or trauma. The focus is to give its officers the tools to be able to connect people in the community with the right services, instead of leaving them at the hospital or jail.
This new, full-time Crisis Intervention Team consists of three deputies certified in training by the National Alliance of Mental Alliance. This team will go out on calls, go to court and train every officer in the county, in Greenwood and beyond.
"We hope to get everybody, every officer in the state trained in CIT because we feel it's very important because about every call we go on anymore has something to do with some kind of mental health," said Deputy Jim Engmark of the Crisis Intervention Team.
The 40-hour class teaches different types of mental illness, addictions, and speakers talking about their experience.
The focus is breaking the stigma.
"In the past, we would have a mental health call we go on and if they were suicidal, whatever the situation was, we would transport them to the hospital on an immediate detention and then we'd be done with that call. We don't know what happens with that person, and we hope they get the help they need, going to the hospital, but we know a lot of times they don't," said Engmark.
Engmark said often times, the people they respond on would be in the same trouble 24 to 48 hours later.
"I was tired of seeing people taken to the hospital and hope for the best. And mental illness is something that again we need to break the stigma with, and I think more and more people are starting to see that and they're starting to talk more about their problems, so if i can help one person, my job's complete," said Engmark.
Marion County's Crisis Intervention Team helped with the process.
This is a joint effort between the sheriff's department, the chief probation officer and judges to provide resources to those with mental illness.
The next training session is in January, and the team is taking applicants. More information can be found at the Johnson County Sheriff's Office website.