WASHINGTON COUNTY, GA (WJBF) – Washington County law enforcement returned to class this week. Deputies and officers from the Sandersville Police Department, the Georgia State Patrol, as well as the Washington County Sheriff’s and Morgan’s offices attended training this week to help respond to mental health calls.
âThe reality is that this is a call we are going to make,â said Deputy Garret Brown of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. âWe will take care of people who are going through a mental crisis. It is very important that we know how to respond appropriately.
The weeklong course, led by members of the Georgia Crisis Response Team, places participants in different scenarios. They not only have to think on their feet to defuse a situation, but they also have to receive the proper care of the person.
âThese are things that happen in everyday life,â says Amy Watson, prison administrator in the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. âThese are things you see on television that don’t happen in our communities. But, they are actually happening.
In 2017, Eurie Martin, 58, died in custody after being tamped with by Washington County Sheriff’s deputies. He suffered from a mental illness.
“This training helps us develop skills to handle these situations without the use of physical force,” said Constable Travis Farrin of the Sandersville Police Department.
The training is also tailored to help officers manage their own mental health.
“Most citizens, who are not first responders or in the military, can see two things in their lifetime, called critical incidents,” says Chuck Simmons, instructor for the Georgia Crisis Response Team . âWe can see two a day. Our body is not made for so many traumas. So we have to have a way to ventilate and release that. “