Police Lacking in Mental Health Training


There are no police agencies in West Virginia that undergo crisis intervention team training, even though the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has said West Virginia has one of the nation’s highest rates of severe mental illness.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that CIT training teaches police about signs and symptoms of mental illness, de-escalation techniques and resources in their community.

According to the University of Memphis CIT Center, only West Virginia, Arkansas and Alabama have no CIT-trained agencies.

Chiefs of Huntington, Morgantown and Charleston police departments all said interactions with people in mental health crises are a regular part of the job.

Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston says police agencies have limited resources, so many incorporate “elements of CIT” into currently existing trainings.

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