By Sharon Aron Baron
A bill aiming to establish mandatory mental illness training for law enforcement officers is back on the table.
State Sen. Bobby Powell, D-West Palm Beach, has refiled SB 1192 Mental Illness Training for Law Enforcement Officers to address how they respond to an individual having a mental health crisis. State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky D-Parkland filed the companion bill HB 879 in the House of Representatives.
Florida is not immune to headlines of police shootings involving individuals experiencing a mental health crisis said, Sen. Powell. In recent conversations centered on police reform, he said we must include discussion on the absence of specific law enforcement training geared towards dealing with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
The mandatory crisis intervention training would include instruction on recognizing and appropriate response to individuals exhibiting a pattern of symptoms or characteristics of a mental illness or mental health crisis in an appropriate response.
“Additional mental health training would be a valuable tool for our law enforcement officers,” said Rep Hunschofsky.
The ability to recognize a person is in a mental health crisis, de-escalate the situation, and provide help or call in a crisis team will absolutely save lives and provide people the help and support they need.
‘The mission of our officers is to ‘serve and protect,’ and this bill absolutely does just that.”
Completion of this mandatory training counts toward the 40 hours of instruction for continued employment or appointment as a law enforcement officer already required under Fla. Stat. 943.135.
State Sen. Powell’s district includes Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach, Juno Beach, Wellington, West Palm Beach,
State Rep Hunschofsky’s district includes Coconut Creek, Parkland, a majority of Margate, and the north and east area of Coral Springs.
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- Sharon Aron Baron is a Parkland resident and editor of Talk Media. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views, and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.
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