FORT SMITH– Over 20 law enforcement officers are in training daily this week to help better serve our communities in the Fort Smith area.

The “Crisis Intervention”┬átraining is being hosted by the Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center in Fort Smith. WACGC is also host to a “Crisis Stabilization Unit” for our area.

“Crisis Stabilization Units (CSU) are small inpatient facilities of less than 16 beds for people in a mental health crisis whose needs cannot be met safely in residential service settings,” states an article from the National Mental Health Alliance.

“CSUs may be designed to admit on a voluntary or involuntary basis when the person needs a safe, secure environment that is less restrictive than a hospital. CSUs try to stabilize the person and get him or her back into the community quickly.”

Over the last two years SCSO has had 20 deputies trained in the Crisis Intervention model.

“The goal of the training is to have train law enforcement officers on how to correctly assess and help someone in a mental health crisis,” stated Captain Pevehouse with the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office.

“What the thinking is from various agencies around the country that this model has been used is that instead of taking someone with a mental health crisis to jail, your actually taking them to a place where somebody can help them get on their medications or offer them the counseling they need.”

If anyone would like more information feel free to contact Joey Potts or Rusti Holwick at WACGC.

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