ST. PAUL, Minn. – St. Paul Police went to Hamline University Wednesday for their crisis intervention team training.
It’s a special 40-hour training meant to prevent and de-escalate situations that could involve an unpredictable natured person with a mental illness.
Carolyn Levy is playing the role of a mentally ill homeless person with diabetes.
These officers are trying to keep her calm and get her the medication she needs.
Levy is a professor and director of Hamline’s Making Waves Social Justice Theatre Troupe, a program created in 2010. It uses the art of performance to provoke dialogue about race, gender, class and other social issues that affect the community on campus and off of campus.
“I think if not handled well, these situations can end poorly,” she said. “They can end with arrest opposed to someone getting the help they need. They could even end with an act of violence, which no one wants to have happen.”
“They are doing 40 hours of training, which is a lot of training, because we have a lot of stuff packed in the 40-hour week,” said Sgt. Sean Zauhar of the St. Paul Police Training Unit. “The biggest takeaway is they will get a knowledgeable base on different types of mental illness and different strategies when they are in crisis.”
After each scenario, the officers discussed what they could have done better and what they did well.
Zauhar says they have been doing this training for several years but teaming up with “Making Waves” is new.
He says the goal is for every officer to be trained by the end of the year.
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