9-16-14 (TOPEKA) – Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Kari Bruffett announced today the funding of several projects to expand the number of Kansas law enforcement officers and those in related fields that are trained to deal appropriately with individuals experiencing mental health crises.
“Some of the most significant recommendations made by the Governor’s Mental Health Task Force address the way law enforcement officers interact with the mentally ill,” Secretary Bruffett said. “The task force emphasized the need for front-line responders to receive instruction in the most effective ways to interact with individuals who suffer from mental illness. In the communities that this training has already occurred, law enforcement and corrections personnel report that it makes a huge difference in way these situations are resolved. ”
The projects were developed as a response to recommendations made by the Kansas Governor’s Mental Health Task Force and with the guidance of the Kansas Governor’s Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Advisory Council.
In May, Governor Sam Brownback outlined his administration’s plans for strengthening the delivery of behavioral health services in Kansas. One of the initiatives he announced was the creation of the Law Enforcement Behavioral Health Advisory Council, consisting of Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Secretary Ray Roberts, Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, and Topeka Police Department Captain Bill Cochran. The council serves in an advisory capacity to review future community grants aimed at helping to keep individuals in the community and out of jails, prisons, and state hospitals. Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and Mental Health First Aid training is a part of that effort aimed at education for front-line responders.
Read the press release.