TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Tallahassee Police Department is accepting new policy changes from the Citizens Police Review Board.
It has to do with how they're dealing with mentally ill people.
The board made recommendations to TPD about policy changes after seeing a national increase in officers dealing with more mentally ill persons.
The recommendations include updating anti-discrimination language, including actions and behaviors when classifying someone with mental issues, and requiring that critical incident trained officers respond to all calls dealing with mentally ill persons.
President and CEO of Apalachee Center Jay Reeve believes these changes allow officers to better help people going through a mental health crisis.
"To make sure that officers who are going out onto the street have kind of a good basic understanding of how to deal with folks who are experiencing mental health crises in ways that don't make the situation worse," said Reeve.
Chief Lawrence Revell says TPD has accepted most of these recommendations. His only issue is requiring only CIT trained officers to respond to a call. "It's a little unrealistic. If someone is breaking into your home and busting out your window, you don't want to wait for a CIT trained officer to respond to that. You want the first officer to respond to that," said Revell.
Revell says about 50% of TPD officers are CIT trained. For an officer to be CIT trained, they go through a 40 hour training to learn what to look for and how to respond to people who are experiencing a mental health crisis. His goal is to increase this number.
"The goal is that every single one of our sworn officers are CIT trained. That way, we don't have to have that statement in policy, we know that when that situation arises, every one of our officers has that training and that ability to handle that situation in the best way possible," said Revell.
CPRB Board Chairman Edward Gaines is glad to see Revell and TPD work with them on these changes.
"The Chief's acceptance of the Board's recommendations regarding General Order 8 for Mentally Ill Persons "sends a clear signal that TPD is committed to treating Tallahassee citizens suffering mental illness and mental health crises with dignity and respect," said Gaines,
Chief Revell said that the new policy updates will be uploaded to their system and all officers will review and sign off on them.