Dane County 911 dispatchers could receive mental health crisis intervention training in future

Published: Nov. 2, 2017 at 9:46 PM CDT
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Police departments often talk about the the increasing number of calls coming to dispatch centers for people dealing with mental health challenges. Chief Koval says from July through September, Madison Police Department spent more than 4,500 hours of work on mental health cases. Stats like this are why the Dane County Board of Supervisors is looking at educating Dane County 911 dispatchers in mental health crisis intervention training.

"They are on the front lines of dealing with issues in the community, even though their not out on the street," said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan talking about dispatchers.

The training would be conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, talking about mental health symptoms and disorders, crisis de-escalation, intervention skills and more.

"With this little bit of training, they make sure those people who are out on the street are the right people interacting and getting the right services to folks," said Corrigan.

It would come at a cost, increasing the county operating budget by almost 58 thousand dollars to cover overtime costs and then five thousand for the training itself.

Corrigan says the county board has made mental health funding a priority in recent years with a 40 percent increase in funding since 2011. This training would also be available to staff from The Beacon homeless day center, as well. The county board will consider this amendment, along with the full budget, on November 20.