TCSO Training Deputies To Recognize Signs Of Mental Illness

Thursday, March 16th 2017, 8:08 pm

By: News On 6

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office is joining a nationwide movement to teach officers how to recognize signs of mental illness.

It's called Crisis Intervention Training, and deputies say it could alleviate a lot of stress for inmates and officers.

Cadets are just weeks away from becoming detention officers for the Tulsa County Jail. Some of the officers will be working in the Mental Health Pods at the jail, so the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office is incorporating a new lesson into the cadets' training called crisis intervention.

"We didn't want to just throw anybody in there, we wanted people that were actually trained," Deputy Ricardo Vaca said.

Vaca said the training teaches detention officers how to deal with inmates who have a mental illness without having to use force.

"You start to build that rapport and that trust and you start to understand what that person is going through," he said.

Over the course of three days, officers will learn how to recognize and react to inmates with mental illness and get a little hands-on experience.

Vaca said, "They got to see and talk to somebody who has been diagnosed with a mental illness that is under medication that is all right and functioning."

Recognizing mental illness could also help inmates with their recovery process.

“The detention officers that work in the mental health units will also be working hand in hand with the medical staff,” Vaca said.

The deputy said the department is already seeing the benefits of training from two former graduates dealing with an aggressive, schizophrenic inmate.

"They were able to calm him down, get him back in his cell without going hands on," Vaca said.

Deputies said the mental health pods officially open on April 15th.


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