Area law enforcement officers and first responders have been taking part in a special training this week at the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office to help them improve their response to situations involving people with mental illness or experiencing a mental health crisis. (Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office)
New Philadelphia, Ohio - The Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office is helping area law enforcement agencies better respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis.
Sheriff Orvis Campbell says his office is facilitating a 40-hour crisis training this week to share information and techniques for de-escalating these types of situations. He says this is a comprehensive training that they’ve offered annually for the last four years.
“It encompasses a lot of things. So, for example, they’ve had programs on a condition or a phenomenon called excited delirium. They had a special update on the most recent information on dealing with those with autism. They learn to diagnose or at least recognize some of the more serious mental illnesses. They learn some of the signs to tell which ones are dangerous and which ones are not,” he explains.
Campbell says the training culminates on Friday when participants apply what they’ve learned during crisis scenario simulations at Kent State Tuscarawas.
“All of that is filmed by Kent State media group, and the rest of the class watches from a separate location and critiques them. What signs did they catch? What signs did they miss? How did they react to those signs? If an actor puts out a trigger, we want to see if the officer’s starting to pick up on it or did they miss it and thus make it worse by not picking up on that trigger,” he says.
Campbell says these exercises are intense but highly valuable as they give officers hands-on experience handling crisis situations.
“It’s a day where you’re being critiqued by a lot of your classmates on a big giant high-def tv from the next room, but everybody seems to agree that when they go through it they learn a lot,” he says.
Campell says they’ve made the made the session available not only to their own deputies, dispatchers, and corrections officers but also to agencies in and around Tuscarawas County so everyone can benefit from this training.
“We want to be an avenue for this training. we don’t want to just attend other places. we want to be one of the locations who’s advertising it’s great usefulness, and it’s used all the time in our work. it’s used almost every single day,” he says.
STACEY CARMANY, TUSCO TV