Lewis and Clark Co. law enforcement officials receive crisis intervention training

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Posted at 4:29 PM, Dec 01, 2021

HELENA — First responders encounter life or death situations on the job, and this week they are beginning their Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) to help deescalate those situations.

"One of the things we really emphasize in the class is interacting with people in crisis, the ability to read that person and try to figure out what's going on, whether they be excited, upset, depressed, and communicate with them in a fashion that's non-threatening," said Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Greg Holmlund.

Corporal Holmlund is the chair for CIT Montana in Lewis and Clark County and says this training allows for de-escalation and communication skills to help law enforcement officials help those in crisis.

"Once we're able to open up that dialogue, what we have seen, and it's been seen across the entire United States, is that the use of force incidents has decreased rapidly," said Holmlund.

While also treating those in crisis to the next level of care.

"Treating people how you would want your family to be treated and once we deescalate a situation, being able to do that soft handoff to what I refer to in the medical industry as a higher level of care," said Holmlund.

Which Holmlund says is not always the detention center.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says that it takes a village to help those in need.

"And it's not just law enforcement; it takes a community to do this. You have to have health care providers. You have to have mental health. All of those people that make this work," said Sheriff Dutton.

The law enforcement officers and first responders spoke with Montana State hospital to get a personalized look at the different levels of people in crisis and better understand how to use the skills in situations.

The trainees also toured mental health facilities, and other locations to better understand what kind of resources are available to those in crisis.

The training will end on Friday with the tests to become fully trained in crisis intervention training.