Police officers complete crisis intervention training

Three University police officers completed 40 hours of training July 29 as “crisis intervention officers” through a program offered by the St. Louis County government.

Sgt. Gwen Patton, Detective Robert Marbs and Patrolman Mark Alexander were certified during the intensive specialized course. This brings to nine the number of WUSTL police officers who have completed the training.

The course provides officers with the skills, methods and tactics to safely de-escalate incidents involving persons who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Police Chief Don Strom said he feels the training is a necessary experience for his officers.

“When a person is going through a mental health crisis, it takes special skills to interact with them and assure them you want to work in their best interest,” said Strom, who has completed the training himself.

“We think it’s very important to expand the tool box available to our officers to give them the skills necessary to handle these situations and the information they need to make sure the person gets the best help possible.”

Three more officers will begin the training program in November. Strom said the goal is to have all 26 University officers certified.

The training is provided in cooperation with the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill, the Mental Health Association of Greater St. Louis, Behavioral Health Response, BJC Behavioral Health and others.