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Mankato police officers to take training program on handling mental health crises

Eighteen Mankato police officers will take a 40-hour course this summer on dealing with people in a mental health crisis, reports the Mankato Free Press.

The city has seen “several high-profile incidents that have ended badly after police were called to deal with someone in a crisis situation,” the paper said.

In January, a 26-year-old war veteran died after he was arrested during an altercation with police that included Tasers. Mankato Public Safety Director Todd Miller said that would have been a “perfect situation” to put such training to use.

The course in July will be taught by the Houston, Texas, police department, which is one of six units in the country recommended by the Council of Governments.

Miller told the paper that regular crisis training provided by the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training isn’t enough.

According to the paper, the training “will teach officers how to de-escalate incidents where people with a mental health issue become violent, uncooperative or unresponsive. Those situations often involve people with post traumatic stress syndrome, having bad reactions to legal or illegal drugs, or dealing with other psychological changes.”

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