TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa police officers got some additional training when it comes to dealing with people who may suffer from mental illness.
TPD has had officers dedicated to providing mental health services since early 2019. These officers will be able to train other officers once they complete this week’s course.
Scenario-based training happened Friday. It’s part of a 40 hour class mental health officers in the Tuscaloosa area must complete. These officers respond to emergency situations and evaluate the mental health issues of people involved and help provide any necessary follow-up support. The number of calls involving individuals with mental health concerns has more than doubled between 2019 and 2020, with three months left to go in this year.
One mental health officer said calls have further increased during the pandemic. “Once we started with the COVID pandemic, that led to a reduction in services people were able to retain, which led to a rise of calls for us. It was not unusual to see five or six calls on the screen pending for either a mental person call, psychiatric call or suicidal person call,” according to Sgt. Craig Parker with the Tuscaloosa Police Department.
Officers from four different Tuscaloosa-area police agencies participated in the training.