Archive for Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lawrence police to get additional training on handling mental health-related calls

July 10, 2011


Lawrence police respond to a variety of mental health-related calls on a daily basis — everything from welfare checks to suicide attempts.

The department will be beefing up training — known as Crisis Intervention Training, or CIT — to help officers deal with those type of calls, said Lawrence Police Sgt. Matt Sarna.

The push for increased training was initiated when Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib received a question about CIT in an online discussion on

Since then, Khatib and Sarna have been meeting with community groups, such as the Recovery and Hope Network, to discuss details of the training.

Officers can be trained at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, and those officers can then train other officers — reducing the overall cost of the program, Sarna said.

Rick Cagan, director of Kansas chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, advocates for an increase in CIT training statewide, and he said training is gaining momentum nationally.

CIT teaches officers the signs and symptoms of mental illness, as well as techniques to defuse violent situations, he said.

“It makes their job easier,” said Cagan of the skills officers learn during training.

Sarna said the goal is to have all Lawrence police officers go through some form of CIT.

“It’s positive for everyone,” he said.


notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

Gregg Sevier was exactly the first thing that popped into my mind on this article.

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

I know nothing of that case and clearly do not have the same agenda you do. I just remember the Sevier case because it was really a tragedy all around. I don't know that training would have actually changed the outcome, though.

Bob Forer 6 years, 10 months ago

Training may have changed the outcome. One of the cops involved (I believe his name was Jim Phillips) was a long time veteran, hired in the sixties when the pay was crap and a college degree was not required.

rousseau108 6 years, 10 months ago

It's kind of hard to verbally "de-escalate" someone who steps out of a trailer and starts shooting at cops, endangering not only the cops but anyone else downrange. CIT is not meant for that type of situation.

Bob Forer 6 years, 10 months ago

The parents, who were also witnesses, say that Greg did not lunge at the officers with a knife.

Food_for_Thought 6 years, 10 months ago

Information is power.

Your comment is extremely flawed, littered with inaccuracies and fallacies. You're completely incorrect on your knowledge in this area. I would love to correct your erroneous arguments, but because you've clearly demonstrated time and again that you're overtly ignorant by choice due to the fact that you feel like you have some sort of personal vendetta with Lawrence PD because your criminal relatives were caught in the act, and you're so gullible to actually believe their BS claiming innocence, I know that educating you will do no good, and you will not do anything productive with the correction of your misinformation. You're a poisonous old woman, and nothing will convince you otherwise that Lawrence PD is terrible, short of appointing you Chief of Police.

Oh, since you're always demanding it from LJW and LPD, how about you show some proof of your claims regarding these recent "conspiracies" against the Neighbors' family. If you can't provide the proof, it clearly must all be lies. I'm just following your logic...

doc1 6 years, 10 months ago

Hey dummy that training didn't even exist until recently.

lucky357 6 years, 10 months ago

CIT training is not taught as part of the basic academy curriculum. It's a specialized training class. KLETC is simply one of the locations you can go to take the class.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 10 months ago

Bring out your dead (horses)! Bring out your dead (horses)!

kernal 6 years, 10 months ago

Trolling, trolling on a sunny day...

Lesa Weller 6 years, 10 months ago

Way to go, Lawrence Police Department and everyone who helped make this happen! And a big "Thank You!."

This training and leadership will help many Lawrence citizens who have contact with the LPD in crisis situations. Such good news in a time when good news is the exception.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 10 months ago

I was the person who raised the issue of CIT on the chat.

I'd like to point out that the Chief did know about CIT when I asked, and that it was something they were looking into

I'd also like to add that, shortly after the chat, he and Matt Sarna came to visit with me (and a couple of CIT advocates I invited) about implementing CIT in Lawrence. And that they have kept me up-to-date on the progress being made.

In addition, at that first meeting, we talked about funding and I volunteered to identify specific grant sources and write the necessary grant proposals because I feel the training is so important.

They then found that 'train the trainer' resources were currently available and affordable, and that they could start implementing CIT far more quickly than grant funding (which I had, indeed, identified) could be acquired.

Rather than beating up on people based on one's own lack of personal knowledge, I think it's far more productive for all of us concerned to stay on top of the issue and make sure that the LPD moves forward with CIT in a timely, effective manner.

Shoulda/woulda/coulda is a pointless waste of time. And, frankly, I'd much rather have CIT training for Lawrence police offices matter how "late" one might consider it...than never.

akt2 6 years, 10 months ago

I didn't see anything offensive in KC Cop's post. Why was it removed? He didn't use foul language or give out trade secrets. Altered mental status in some form is just par for the course around here.

Missingit 6 years, 10 months ago

After reading the story, I am soooo glad (sarcasm) that we were able to mention Yellow House in the same article as mental instability! But as I looked mental illness and the Yellow House article go together! Has Guy Neighbors been declared mentally competent yet?? Lawrence could have save a large amount of money if all officers would have known we needed CIT to figure out Yellow House. Lastly, KLETC is not free! Each ticket written I Kansas supports it so next time you get a ticket remember KLETC

Missingit 6 years, 10 months ago

My question for Smitty! If Yellow House was still in business would it help Govenor Brownback create jobs? I mean we tie any police news to Yellow House I was hoping you might branch out in your blogs to other governmental news!!

Missingit 6 years, 10 months ago

I just looked at your post. It shows a case from 1998. It does not fit the domestic violence law that was in the statue of the story, his daughter was 15 not 18! But at least you get to use the word terrorist and you get to use national stats in your rants. So if the homicide rate is hi nationally how do you explain no deaths locally? Smitty I wish you the best in your mudslinging career!

hedshrinker 6 years, 10 months ago

I think it's important to try to focus on a little bigger picture beyond Yellow House and the admittedly tragic case of Greg Sevier. In this day and time when Bert Nash and all KS public community mental health centers are facing massive curtailment of svcs due to cutbacks from Brownback and the SRS chief and when consumers are more and more finding it impossible to pay copays for their psychotropics meds so their mental illness symptoms are reemerging, local law enforcement is increasingly the only mental healthcare delivery system. This mandates increasing education and ONGOING training of all frontline law enforcement personnel...they have an incredibly difficult job to do, often in the worst of circumstances where multiple lives are at stake. Mental health professionals (actually anybody with consumer contact) is required to have basic crisis deescalation training (verbal as well as some rudimentary physical self protection techniques)and then retraining every year or two to keep their skills up....this seems essential for law enforcement in this dark time when they may be the only mental health interface for many.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 10 months ago

Please stop claiming that Khatib found out about CIT through my question on the JW online chat. it's simply not true.

Mike Riner 6 years, 10 months ago

You need to understand someting acorwebworks.....The truth is whatever/whenever Smitty decrees it to be (makes up). Noting more. Ever.

rousseau108 6 years, 10 months ago

Not to mention the fact that LPD officers have already had training in dealing with mentally and emotionally disturbed people. Just because their training was not called "CIT" doesn't mean they don't have anything.
I find it ridiculous that police officers are expected to be therapists/psychiatrists/counselors/social workers/etc simply because all other mental health services get funding cuts.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 10 months ago

I'm assuming that you don't understand CIT or the current situation in the LPD. But, hey, probably no reason you should.

But CIT really will make a both people with mental illness and to the police.

I, too, don't believe that police officers should be expected to be "therapists/psychiatrists/counselors/social workers/etc "...regardless of funding cuts...but I do want both the police and people with mental illness to be safe. CIT can help with this. And save taxpayer dollars.

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 10 months ago

We don't include comments in our search, because of their volume.

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 10 months ago

I don't know what to tell you. Not everything's a conspiracy.

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 10 months ago

This is absolutely inaccurate. Nothing has been changed in thus article since it was published.

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 10 months ago

This is absolutely inaccurate. Nothing has been changed in thus article since it was published.

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 10 months ago

Sorry smitty. You're just making things up. I went into the article history, we store complete version copies, and nothing has been changed since yesterday. It was published this morning. You are 100% wrong.

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 10 months ago

Nothing changed. Nothing's been blocked. There are no conspiracies against you.

If you want to come down to the office, I'd be happy to show you the complete versions that we store, and the edit trail as well. Ask for me. I'm here all week.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 10 months ago

But the J-W didn't make that claim. Nor did Chief Khatib. (I was "there"...remember????)

hedshrinker 6 years, 10 months ago

Cynical much? agent provocateur gandalf, yr flippancy about a complex social issue is not appreciated.

Fins 6 years, 10 months ago

Sometimes I think the LJW throws a stick just to watch smitty chase it.

Sharon Aikins 6 years, 10 months ago

That's hilarious and maybe even right! Best laugh I've had today.

skinny 6 years, 10 months ago

and chase it she does! Along with those black helicopters!!

Flap Doodle 6 years, 10 months ago

Every little mud show needs a geek to draw in the rubes. Since LJW's last geek got disappeareded, smitty has taken over that role.

costello 6 years, 10 months ago

My experience with the Lawrence PD and mental illness is limited to one incident, but if it is representative of the local police I think they could stand some kind of training. It happened a couple of years ago, and I still get angry when I think about it.

My adult son disappeared during a psychotic episode. It was several days before anyone realized he was gone. I went to his apartment and found the door unlocked and the place trashed. His furniture was literally turned over and thrown around.

The cop who came out was clearly bored to death. She explained to me that he'd probably turn up at the homeless shelter. "For some reason these people always end up there eventually."

When I explained he's a bit of a germophobe and unlikely to go to a shelter if he has an apartment and a car, she stared at me blankly then told me that she has lots of experience with "these people." Apparently she knows my son better than I do, because she's met a few mentally ill people under stressful circumstances.

She didn't give me her name or card, nor did she write anything down. Finally she gave me a pained look and asked if she could leave.

A couple of days later a hospital 750 miles away called his case manager at Bert Nash. He'd attempted suicide in another state. In fact at the time the cop was telling me "these people always turn up at the homeless shelter," he'd already been hospitalized several days.

Whenever I think of that horrible woman, I hope that someday someone she cares about will develop a mental illness.

bornon7 6 years, 10 months ago

I'm sorry for the inept officer. Please don't wish mental illness on ANYONE. Karma, costello!

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 10 months ago

It's stories like this why I asked the Chief about plans to implement CIT and why RAHN has been staying on top of the issue. Our consumers have countless stories like this and worse...all unnecessary with a bit of focused training.

Granted, there will always be people (and cops are people) who don't care. But most don't want to be 'bad' people and, once they learn better ways to do things, they tend to do those things differently. Heck, CIT makes it easier on cops, too...fewer reports, less stressful or dangerous situations, less time wasted in court, etc.

(But I do agree with bornon7...please don't wish mental illness on anyone. And particularly not on an innocent person whose only "crime" is being cared about by a jerk. Two wrongs do not make a right.)

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 10 months ago

I would assume the answer would be that one person in the entire period from the beginning of CIT being offered in Kansas up to February 3, 2010 does not equate to "Lawrence already has trained personnel". (After all, it's kinda hard to have a 'trained CIT team' with just one person :-)

Nor do I believe that having one person go through the basic training program equate to that one person being a trainer themselves. (And I assume you noticed that Lawrence is not listed as a CIT Partner?)

The fact is that we're finally getting CIT in Lawrence. I, for one, am very glad about that. It's going to make a positive difference in a lot of people's lives. That being the case, I'm not sure what you hope to accomplish by your continued nitpicking, particularly since so much of it is misinformed.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 10 months ago

But you don't point out anything of value. That's the problem. I really wish you would bring up things of value. But, instead, you keep choosing to complain and nitpick, rather than be constructive, so you don't add value to the discussion.

Here, for example, you have convinced yourself that one person taking CIT in a decade equates to Lawrence having trained CIT personnel...not even asking if that person is still in Lawrence or still affiliated with the LPD.

Then you use this 1 person's getting training sometime in the past decade to complain about some imaginary "lack of openness" about CIT in Lawrence by the J-W and LPD.

You regularly claim that it would be cheaper to send all the LPD to Hutch for CIT...with no data to support your contention except the statement that CIT is $50 an officer.

Well...if the only cost you want to use is the cost of the training, then 2 officers sent to CIT and to Train the Trainer training would cost $200. Sending an additional 140+ officers would cost an additional $700+. How on earth is that cheaper?

(And, of course, there are numerous other costs that need to be factored in, as well as other factors to be considered like effectiveness, timeliness, etc.)

The types of things you have been focusing on are simply not helpful. You're not revealing "shortfalls"...simply expressing opinions based on, at least in the case of implementing CIT here in Lawrence, a lack of both information and context.

There's nothing in anything you've written so far to "leverage" anything. There's no food for thought. There's nothing new. Sorry...there just isn't. I wish there were.

asbury 6 years, 10 months ago

It's about time LPD gets this type of training.......They REALLY need it.

somebodynew 6 years, 10 months ago

Heck, maybe they will be able to figure out how to deal with smitty???

Nah - too much to ask.

gl0ckUser 6 years, 10 months ago

Ha, RIP YH....... Guy Neighbors has yet to go to trial. If you check the Court records he is still waiting for a trial. If my memory serves me correct they were charged back in 2005 its now almost the end of 2011. Must be pretty hard to take an innocent man to trial.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 10 months ago

It's even harder to take a crazy man to trial.

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