Online training for mental health workers in Tuscaloosa

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TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (WBRC) – Lt. Craig Parker with the Tuscaloosa Police Department believes officers need as much training as possible to prepare them for what they may encounter during an emergency call.

He believes this is especially necessary when an agent could respond to someone in mental distress.

“We are considered first responders and first responders respond to everything, including mental health crises. So to be put in these situations we need to be better trained to handle them, ”said Parker, who is also the Behavioral Health Unit Commander within the TPD.

That’s why Parker supports an ongoing partnership with the University of Alabama.

Over the past six months, the AU School of Social Work and the Center for Advanced Public Safety have developed an online training program for law enforcement.

They can take it online at their leisure and complete it at their own pace when taking breaks and help them understand strategies for dealing with mental illness, addiction and de-escalation, ”Parker added.

The training is free for the police.

It lasts eight hours and can be done all at once and split into several parts.

“We hope for once to destigmatize mental illness. It is a disease like any other disease and we hope to follow it along and make officers more comfortable having to deal with these situations.

Law enforcement officers can register for the course online.

So far, more than 135 officers have participated in the training.

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