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Burleson County Sheriff’s Office Hosts Mental Health Crisis Training

CALDWELL, Texas (KBTX) – The Burleson County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Cedar Park Hospital to offer mental health crisis training this week. The course was free and focused on de-escalation practices.

Law enforcement officers from across the Brazos Valley showed up throughout the week to listen to a first-hand experience regarding mental health. They also watched films and listened to speakers present on the subject. On Friday, the officers put their training to the test with scenarios.

Burleson County Sheriff Gene Hermes said it was important for them to come up with this for the first time because of how the job has evolved over the years.

“Law enforcement, in general, has changed so that instead of just fighting crime or having the criminal side of law enforcement, you have to have the mental peace officer side” Sheriff Hermes said.

Holly Doggett of Cedar Crest Hospital helped organize the event. She worked with the officers to help them train for these kinds of situations.

“So many people who are in a mental health crisis, the first point of contact with someone when they seek help from their law enforcement,” Doggett said. “We want to move beyond the concept that someone with a mental health crisis has to go to jail. “

Some of the scenarios the officers were tested on included a person suffering from a nervous breakdown in a public place and a fellow officer on the verge of suicide over bad news.

The sheriff’s office said they were happy to do so, to better equip local law enforcement and give them the tools to take care of the community.

“It gives them the opportunity to show how they would react in those situations and to say, ‘Yeah, I have this tool and I’m going to use it,’” Doggett said.

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