Minnesota law enforcement will be required to take a minimum amount of crisis prevention training under a bill passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, reports KARE-TV. It is a “game changer for Minnesota law enforcement,” said Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell. As of July 1, 2018, officers must get a minimum of 16 hours of training every three years on three areas — responding to a mental health crisis, de-escalation of conflicts and diversity and implicit bias training. The state will give law enforcement $6 million every year for the next four years for the training. “This levels the playing field for access to this critical training across the state,” Schnell said. “Five years from now we’re going to look back and say that was a major shift in our response to these types of calls.”
The Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) will administer the money and make sure departments follow the law. The $6 million will be triple the amount money already available,” said POST’s Nate Gove. Sue Abderholden of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Minnesota, noting that most people who suffer from mental illness are not violent, still believes that the training will help keep incidents from escalating. “What we’ve heard from officers soon after they’ve had this training is they’ve used it,” she said. Abderholden was disappointed the law didn’t require a specific amount of hours for mental health and de-escalation training. Instead it’s left up to police departments to allocate the training hours.