Huntsville Police Officers will soon receive training to help them recognize individuals with mental illness.
WAAY 31 learned the department received a grant that will send specialists to Huntsville for the next year and a half to train officers.
The program will also show officers other options besides sending someone with mental illness to jail.
"Let's get these people the help they need before they go into the legal system and then they get no help and they're just lost and they continue to spiral," said Rheajoela Caldwell who lives in Huntsville.
John Hollingsworth who's a community resource officer with the department told me the program creates additional relationships between law enforcement, mental health providers, and emergency services.
"It's a new set of tools. These give officers options. They are still going to do their job, but they are going to learn how to interact better with people who have mental illness or other disabilities through the brain," he said.
Caldwell told us she'll remember officers have training and she'll call them if she's ever concerned about someone.
"At least I can say okay if they're having a breakdown or crisis at the moment, let's get the police out explain what's going on and let's get them to the hospital and get them the help they need," she said.
Caldwell hopes this makes the city safer and gets people help instead of just sending them to jail.
"It will help the city. It improves safety. It lessens people's concerns when they see people. It couldn't come at a better time," she said.
Hollingsworth also told us the department plans on sharing their training resources with paramedics, fire firefighters, and other police agencies in the area.
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