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.


Flap Doodle 2 years, 8 months ago

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


gl0ckUser 2 years, 9 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.


somebodynew 2 years, 9 months ago

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

Nah - too much to ask.


asbury 2 years, 9 months ago

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


smitty 2 years, 9 months ago

The Kansas Law Enforcement CIT training is a 40 hour intensive training program which provides officers and first responders with the skills, methods and tactics to safely de-escalate incidents involving persons involved in a mental health crisis.

The CIT model is about doing the right thing for the right reasons.

316 participants Lawrence has 1 trained personnel already at the time of this information.

Why is the CIT represented as yet to happen since Lawrence already has trained personnel?

**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.***

JW both you and the LPD have a bad reputation for facts and openness... I, for one, would like to beleive that the LPD is actually responding to the past negative history with positive actions. This weak reporting isn't helping anyone understand if the LPD is indeed on a track to correct their long standing history.


ShePrecedes 2 years, 9 months ago

Just as long as they are not authorized to diagnose, I am ok with it.


costello 2 years, 9 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.


Flap Doodle 2 years, 9 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.


skinny 2 years, 9 months ago

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


Fins 2 years, 9 months ago

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


Gandalf 2 years, 9 months ago

How much training do you need. Don't shoot in the head it'll look like a deliberate kill. Do shoot at center of chest. It's just as effective. If they are to old to shoot use tasers, you might get a heart attack that way.


smitty 2 years, 9 months ago

NAMI is in the fore front of this education. Communities that are struggling with problems resulting from interactions between people living with mental illness and law enforcement can take preventative measures to avoid negative situations by reaching out to the Mental Health Learning Sites to get guidance on creating a CIT or other specialized policing response program.

Here's the link to the Consenus Projects sites

Criminal Justice/Mental Health Learning Sites Since 2006, the CSG Justice Center has worked in partnership with the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), to identify and highlight agencies from across the country with comprehensive and successful criminal justice/mental health programs that are willing to share their expertise. These "learning sites" serve as centers for peer-to-peer learning for other criminal justice and mental health agencies and organizations. To date, the Justice Center and BJA have identified five mental health courts and six law enforcement agencies that use a range of effective responses to people with mental illnesses involved with the criminal justice system. These sites have been chosen not just for their programmatic successes, but also for their ability to provide insight and guidance to other jurisdictions interested in starting or expanding a criminal justice/mental health collaboration.

Khatib needs to know that this old news from 2006. Khatib, Corlis, the city commission are so far behind the curve on the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA ) program that Olin scammed the public about. But then Lawrence did hire within the "force" to replace Olin.


hedshrinker 2 years, 9 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.


Missingit 2 years, 9 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 2 years, 9 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


smitty 2 years, 9 months ago

CIT (not CTI)

In an effort to better inform and educate police officers who sometimes have to interact with people with mental illness, departments around the country are instituting specialized training. Does this training actually help to de-escalate potentially violent situations? According to new research, the answer is “Yes.”

Police officers who undergo this training are less likely to use force when dealing with a situation that involves a person with mental illness...

...The study, published in a recent edition of the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin, surveyed 135 police officers from Atlanta about how they would handle three different scenarios involving mentally ill people. Forty-eight officers had received crisis-intervention team training, while 87 had not received the training.

Researchers discovered officers who underwent the training –known as the CIT Academy — chose to use less force in the third scenario presented to them......

Khatib found out about CIT from the JW chat!! Is Lawrence ever going to get a professional police chief? The person on the chat should be hired as chief..


akt2 2 years, 9 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.


Lesa Weller 2 years, 9 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.


kernal 2 years, 9 months ago

Trolling, trolling on a sunny day...


kc_cop 2 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


Flap Doodle 2 years, 9 months ago

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


smitty 2 years, 9 months ago

**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.**

Lawrence PD still is doing in the 500 hour in-house training of our officers and don't yet have CIT but yet Khatib openly states that this vital community policing training is available at Hutch. It would be even less expensive if Lawrence sent all their officers to Hutch and dropped the in-house training altogether. Obviously more appropriate classes are taught a Hutch and in the end more cost effective.

Olin's justifications, approved by the city commission, was that in-house training is more comprehensive... after all Khatib's time as chief and 20 years on the LPD he didn't even know about CIT, basic training in today's policing?

How many years must Lawrence be subjected to the terrorist mentality of Olin do to improper and poor policing techniques, along with the ignorance of those who spent their entire tenure under Olin's command.

Khatib joined the LPD in '91, the same year that the LPD shot and killed Gregg Sevier. This training was to have been done years ago. What a sham! What Lawrence got was a terrorist technique of a swat squad assassination of the mentally ill.

Since Khatib took clues from the chat, why edit the questions asked about the DUI LPD procedures or why the traffic tickets went way down in the 1900-2000 block of Mass after the YH owners were incarcerated (framed).

FYI... The Neighbors have challenged the confiscation and sale of their real estate. Fraud and corruption being the reasons.

G N was offered a plea deal ...get this.... our District 10 federal prosecutors bargained to drop the remaining two charges against C N and time served for a guilty plea from GN. Is that legal?

Our federal prosecutors use charges against his wife to get a guilty plea from him. Of course, GN refused. GN's appeal process is still on-going. The hearing is currently rescheduled for Aug. The federal attorneys postponed this appeal on the mental health irregularities until after CN's appeal.

C N's appeal was filed by her attorney and the federal prosecutor has till the 11th of July to respond. Usual tactics by the Dist 10 federal prosecutors has been to delay and extend all the hearings and we'll see if these dates stick.

Judge Murguia's decisions on both the Neighbors cases is now under scrutiny through the appellate courts....hhhmmmmm

JW, you too have access to the same information


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