INDIANAPOLIS – A proposal authored by State Senator Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) to increase training for the state’s law enforcement officers in recognizing signs of mental illness when responding to calls cleared the Senate floor Monday.

“We can help curb the astounding incarceration rate for people with mental illnesses in our state by further educating our law enforcement officers on mental illness crisis management,” Sen. Stoops said.

As many as 64 percent of inmates in local prisons suffer from mental illness according to data from the National Institute of Mental Health. SB 380 would require law enforcement training academies to include Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training in initial training and in continuing education training. Many police programs do not have funding to implement officer training and by recognizing mental illness, officers could properly and more efficiently de-escalate situations.

“There is an opportunity available here to further protect Hoosiers,” Sen. Stoops said. “Police programs across the state will also benefit from decreases in operational costs that would already be covered by the academy while diverting people in crisis situations to appropriate support services.”

CIT would assist law enforcement in responding to crisis situations involving individuals with mental illness, substance abuse issues, or both mental illness and substance abuse issues.

SB 380 passed the Senate with a vote of 48-1 and now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Sen. Stoops represents Indiana Senate District 40, which includes portions of Monroe County, including the City of Bloomington. For more information on Sen. Stoops, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S40.

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