Police officers who undergo crisis-intervention training are less likely to use force when handling a situation involving a mentally ill person, says a study reported by the Salt Lake Tribune. The study, published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin , surveyed 135 police officers from Atlanta about how they would handle three different scenarios involving mentally ill people. Forty-eight officers had received crisis-intervention team training, while 87 had not received the training.
Researchers discovered officers who underwent the training –known as the CIT Academy — chose to use less force in the third scenario presented to them. Eight available options in the third scenario, the most escalated of the three, ranged from talking through the situation to using force, such as a baton. Dr. Michael Compton of the Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, one of the study’s authors, said the research is among the first done that examines how CIT programs may effect officers’ use of force on the mentally ill. The findings could add clout to a claim made in a federal lawsuit filed this month by the family of Brian Cardall, who died in June after a Hurricane police officer twice deployed a Taser on Cardall as he suffered a bipolar episode on a southern Utah highway.