1,500 police officers to receive new mental health awareness training
Police officers with the Winnipeg Police Service are undergoing new mental health awareness training.
On Wednesday, the media was invited police headquarters to sit in and watch officers handle a mock scenario through role playing.
In the scenario played out, a young woman is experiencing emotional distress. The woman's roommate calls 911 and police arrive to resolve the situation.
The officers sit down with the victim and learn she is the victim of a serious sexual assault and has been cutting her arms.
Deputy Chief Gord Perrier said it is important officers receive training and run through mock scenarios, because Winnipeg police respond to thousands of calls that deal with people experiencing mental health issues.
In the past officers received online mental health awareness training every three years. More developed, including practicing mental health training, will take place every two years now.
Dr. Yasmeen Kramenddine is the director of research and development with ProTraining, the company contracted to conduct the new training program.
She said other scenarios in the training include working with a victim experiencing paranoia and addiction.
She said it is important officers learn de-escalation and non-escalation techniques, avoiding trigger phrases such as “just calm down”.
Chris Summerville with the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society congratulated the training.
He said it is important police officers get more intensive mental health training, so there are more positive outcomes.
Perrier said the program costs $20 per officer. He explained that he hopes to have 1,500 officers trained by the end of 2018.