The Modesto Bee is spending several days discussing mental health and care in Stanislaus County. One of the programs that has generated results teaches police officers how to defuse situations involving the mentally unstable.

One case that demonstrated the power of training and empathy involved a soldier who recently returned from his overseas deployment. He was locked in his room at his parents house and talked about hearing voices under his bed and in the attic. He wanted to end his life. The two officers from the Modesto Police Department who responded to the call had been through the week-long training program and were able to end the standoff peacefully.

The point of the program is to defend both the offender and the police alike. Courts have ruled against officers who fail to take into account the mental instability of a criminal in cases where officers have used force, and suspects can often harm themselves, bystanders, or officers. However, programs such as the crisis intervention training teach officers to talk, use “softer gloves” and resolve these problems peacefully.

From the Modesto Bee:

Modesto police officer Ben Brandvold wasn’t sure how well crisis intervention training would work in the real world.

In September, he found out after completing the weeklong training, which teaches officers and deputies in Stanislaus County to defuse potentially violent encounters with people who are emotionally disturbed.

A mother in northwest Modesto was having trouble with her son who had returned home from military duty in the Middle East.

Read the full article here.