Gallatin police will partner with Volunteer Behavioral Health to create a training program to help officers better serve the mentally ill and people with substance abuse problems.
The program is expected to be formed in January and will be funded through a federal grant from the US Department of Justice.
Janell Wilson, public information officer for Gallatin Police Department, says one goal will be to gather statistics on the number of mentally ill people in the city along with numbers on those with substance abuse issues like opioid addiction.
Another goal will be to teach officers how to recognize mental health symptoms and different illnesses, according to Susan Phillips with Volunteer Behavioral Health.
Officers will get mental health first-aid training and learn crisis intervention, according to Phillips.
Phillips says the overall goal is to lead people to treatment instead of into the judicial system.
“There’s a lot of people out there that suffer from a mental illness or reoccurring mental illnesses even substance abuse,” Wilson said. “This is just going to better track what’s going on here in Gallatin.”
“This is just something that we wanted to take the extra step for, for our community.”