On March 1, 2023, Associate Policy Director Sarah Sample testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB 580 – Public Safety – Officer and Community Wellness Training Grant Fund.
The House Appropriations Committee will consider the bill’s cross-file, HB 715, on March 7.
SB 580 establishes the eponymous Officer and Community Wellness Training Grant Fund to prepare law enforcement officers to better attend to the needs of those suffering from mental health crises. Through no fault of their own, police are often called on to handle situations for which they are not adequately trained, where the mental health needs of an individual require a measured, informed approach. This bill wisely addresses these concerns through further training, in order to make real the best possible outcome for all involved.
From the MACo Testimony:
SB 580 can help provide local law enforcement agencies with resources to update practices and training protocols for interactions with people experiencing a mental health crisis. These efforts would include expanded mental health first aid training, thus ensuring an even greater likelihood that an emergency situation will not unfold in a harmful way for either party. This type of training will allow officers to better identify an individual’s needs in situations where those needs might not be obvious or the individual is unable to communicate them – whether because they’re actively in crisis or may not yet understand their condition themselves.
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