THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Local law enforcement officers are taking extra steps to make sure they can handle themselves and those involved in a potential crisis.
"Rather than being afraid of what the outcome may be they are going in with the equipment and knowledge to know that they can be apart of the solution," said Captain Maurice Holmes with Thomasville PD.
The Thomasville Police Department as well as a few other agencies are in the classroom this week.
They are participating in the Crisis Intervention program.
The program focuses on giving officers skills to assist people with mental illnesses.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 25% of people in the US have a mental illness.
In order to make sure law enforcement is properly trained to handle encounters with people who have mental illnesses they offer the crisis intervention training.
"They come across people in crisis all the time, everyday on the job," said Sue Marlowe with National Alliance on Mental Illness.
This week for 40 hours law enforcement and first responders are participating in the program in Thomasville.
"If they have an event where they are in crisis we are now equipped to deal with them rather than go in heavy handed and use some type of force," said Holmes.
Part of the training involves role playing and talking about de-esclation techniques.
Tuesday, the class got to leave and meet at the Georgia Pines facility in Thomasville to speak to patients there about their struggles with mental illness.
"The officers are going to hear from people that are going there right now and hear their stories from what they were and now what they are so its very heartwarming," said Marlowe.
Thomasville Police said it's goal is to have 100% of it's officers eventually trained in Crisis Intervention.