GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Safety is key for every police encounter.
Now, two programs in our area are working with correctional officers to teach new crisis intervention skills.
“I’ve been with the department for eight years and I wish I had this training from day one,” said Matthew Essink
Matthew Essink is one of many correctional officers who completed crisis intervention training this week.
They learned how to deescalate situations with people who suffer from mental illness
“It’s gonna save injuries and it’s gonna keep our staff and offender population safe at all times.”
CIT coordinator Sara Stanton says each officer must pass three components.
“We learn about mental health diagnosis, how to identify their symptoms,” said Stanton
Then officers get their hands dirty.
“The officers get to go out into the community and meet people with mental illness with substance use issues,” Stanton explained
Next, they role play different scenarios.
“He had a weapon and was threatening to harm himself and I spoke to him and got him to realize that he had more to live for and more to look forward to.”
Essink says this training is something he’ll never forget.
“These role plays are spot on these are actually live situations we have had to deal with as a department,” he said
Fresh with his pin and certification, Essink has one piece of advice
“I hope every officer comes to this training,” he said
Officers are also trained to help the community better respond to personal matters.