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Crisis intervention training set, interest grows

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Two police officers have already been trained to deal with mentally ill people for the Evansville-based Crisis Intervention Team. Now, the Southwestern Indiana Law Enforcement Academy will train approximately 35 others.

The academy will host a 40-hour training session for others who work in law enforcement at 8 a.m. Feb. 23 at the Welborn Conference Center, 410 Mulberry St., Evansville. The Crisis Intervention Team is a cooperative effort between the Evansville Police Department and Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department, local hospitals, the mental health community, and other community members.

Participants from the Evansville Police Department and the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department will learn from health-care professionals, members of the local judiciary, law enforcement officers, and members of the community familiar with mental illness how to recognize and better communicate with individuals with mental illnesses.

By recognizing the signs of mental illness and knowing how those individuals should be treated, police officers will be better equipped to de-escalate volatile situations where officers are called to respond, according to proponents of the training, including Vanderburgh Superior Magistrate Judge Jill Marcrum, who has been among those who led the initiative to have the trainings in Evansville.

Evansville was one of the newest CITs in Indiana when it officially started Oct. 27, 2008. Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Richmond, Gary, Bloomington, Warsaw, Elkhart, and Porter County already had their own CITs, according to Kellie Meyer, the criminal justice director at the National Alliance of Mental Illness Indiana.

Madison and Howard counties have had meetings about creating CITs and Delaware and Jennings counties have asked the National Alliance of Mental Illness Indiana for help in setting community stakeholder meetings to begin the process, Meyer added.

Indiana Lawyer previously reported on CIT training in Evansville in the Nov. 12-25, 2008, issue, "Crisis team set to begin."

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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