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WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — Last month, Aaron Alexis, 34, a contractor with a history of mental health issues, was able to gain a valid pass into a secure Navy Yard in Washington D.C. , where he killed 12 people.
It’s a scenario that police from several Trumbull County departments are trying to avert through Crisis Intervention Training sponsored by the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board and Newton Falls Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3332.
Over the next two weeks, officers will learn how to de-escalate a situation with someone suffering from mental health issues that they may encounter in daily work on the road.
“Many of the folks that the officers deal with on a routine basis are people with severe mental illness who may or may not be in treatment or who may not be in compliance with treatment, so finding out what the most helpful thing to do is the goal of the training,” said John Myers Jr. of the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board.
During the 40 hours of training, officers will become better aware of treatment and supportive services that are available for people who are suffering from mental health issues. They’ll also learn about addiction and the role substance abuse plays in our culture.
“Being able to identify a person who is in trouble and needs support, needs help, and to stabilize their life and then make the decision to abstain for the rest of their life if they have a chronic problem,” said Ed Dyer, program director of Compass Family & Community Services.
In the past 11 years, 130 officers from 24 jurisdictions in the area have taken part in this type of training.