BELL COUNTY, TX — The Bell County Sheriff's Department has led crucial training on mental health in Central Texas, now they're including military police from Fort Hood.
”There is a lot of training that comes in here. There’s a lot of how to transition from the traditional role as a police officer into thinking outside that box, mental health, and IDD, which is intellectual Developmental Disabilities. Then, how to cope with that in today’s society,” said Sgt Teresa Phelps, training coordinator mental health training center for the Bell County Sheriff’s Department.
Since 2017, Texas law enforcement officers have been required to take training courses aimed at changing the way they handle calls involving mental health.
”I would tell you that I am ecstatic that they are here and because I think, not just for law enforcement, but every walk of life can gain something from this course," said Sgt. Phelps.
The benefit of the course is something the MP’s agree with.
”Going through this training and giving the soldiers a different tool to assess different situations and handle situations differently, like I said, it’s been a win-win for everybody," said CPT Kristian Hill, commander of the 178th Law Enforcement Detachment, Fort Hood.
In fact, they have already seen the impact this course has had in the field.
”We’ve had a couple of success stories from soldiers that have taken a different approach on the way that we have dealt with soldiers that might be becoming unruly, of civilians that might be becoming unruly and we’ve handled it differently because of this class,” said CPT hill.
There is one thing that both military and civilian officers agree on after taking this course.
”it’s not a very easy course. It’s a course that definitely though, the officers at the end of the day, they might have come in with, I don’t know about this, but they leave with, that’s a good course,” said Sgt Phelps.
Both civilian and military officers that have gone through this course said, it has opened their eyes and helped better serve the communities they have sworn to protect.