KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knoxville Police Department said Friday they graduated 80 employees from a training program meant to show police officers how to appropriately help people experiencing a mental health or substance abuse-related crisis.
The Crisis Intervention Team training program was developed between advocates, law enforcement leaders, and mental health systems. Officers and employees who graduate from the program are meant to have the skills to help people without escalating encounters, possibly calming someone down without using force.
The program took 40 hours to complete, according to a release from the police department. The training has been used in counties across Tennessee, using a "Memphis Model" of Crisis Intervention Team training. It dates back to 1988, according to a release from state leaders.
Teams are made up of law enforcement members, mental health providers and other community stakeholders. Sevier and Anderson counties also trained officers and developed crisis intervention teams, while some other East Tennessee counties have just trained officers.