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IMPD shares its mental health training techniques

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — When trainees go through the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s police academy, they partake in a scenario where they respond to someone going through a mental health crisis.

“We’re really going to be modeling them after what our officers are currently seeing on district or runs that even my training staff has been through ourselves when we were still on district,” said training supervisor Brittany Faull.

According to department policies, someone must meet three criteria to be hospitalized: Show signs they are mentally ill, be an imminent threat to themselves or others and have an immediate need for hospitalization.

If they meet all three requirements, they can be hospitalized for up to 24 hours or longer if a psychiatrist can successfully petition a judge.

“However, our big key takeaway from that is it is not punitive, it is not “you are in trouble, it is truly a took for us to provide help for that person that is suffering from a mental health crisis,” Faull said.

The mental health training provided by IMPD goes beyond what other departments offer.

“We’re are looking at various incidents across the country, to identify best practices, identify opportunities that we did as an agency or another agency did in finding opportunities where we can improve whether it being our training, tactics, policies or procedures,” said IMPD Public Information Officer Lt. Shane Foley.

Trainees are also taught to look out for the mental health of themselves and their colleagues.

“You’re going to see and you are going to experience more traumatic things maybe in a week than most people do traditionally in their lives,” Faull said.

Officers who go through IMPD’S academy are also taught to understand when someone they meet in the field may be showing signs of autism and how to communicate with them properly.