Area deputies complete crisis intervention training

Published: Dec. 15, 2017 at 10:04 PM CST
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A new group of law enforcement officers from Dane, Rock, Sauk and other counties are now prepared with crisis intervention training.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 24 percent of state prisoners have a recent history of a mental health condition.

Jeff Santelli with the National Institute of Corrections said not long ago law enforcement took a much different approach to working with people with mental illness.

"10, 20 years ago... maybe even five years ago, agencies would never have thought of helping the community like this, helping inmates for instance, it might have been the idea that they're incarcerated and that's as far as we're going to take it." said Santelli.

Zachary Thurber is a sheriff's deputy and jailer with Pierce County Sheriff's Office. He said this course taught him the importance of listening.

"Actually hearing what they're saying to me and being able to use it and to be able to communicate with them better," said Thurber.

Dane County has been training its staff in crisis intervention for about three years.