FORT HOOD, Texas — Fort Hood Military Police have been working to build a Crisis Intervention Team to respond to calls involving mental health.
It's no secret that law enforcement’s response to mental health calls has been under scrutiny for years.
The same goes for military law enforcement and that is why Fort Hood has been working to build a team trained to handle those calls.
”I am currently the Officer in Charge of the Crisis Response Intervention Team on Fort Hood, “said CPT Zachary Toler, Officer in Charge of the Crisis Response Intervention Team, 178th Military Police Detachment. “I have 5 soldiers assigned to my team and we together, respond to mental health calls in the installation.”
Earlier in the year, CPT Toler and his team went through extensive training with the Bell County Sheriff’s Department.
Training he says made all the difference when responding to mental health calls.
”How many people I delt with that were probably in crisis and I didn’t know they were in crisis based on my lack of knowledge at the time,” said CPT Toler. “So, that training really opened my eyes and gave me a whole perspective in identifying those individuals and interacting with them as law enforcement.”
Now they are back in the classroom learning how to coordinate with civilian resources to make their team more effective.
”To be a resource and a navigator to help other officers get to resources as well,” said Sgt. Teresa Phelps, Bell Co. Sheriff Department Mental Health Training Center. “It’s meant to help them delve deeper into more resources but more so, to help the other officers on the street that need the help and don’t understand.”
Training and collaborating with civilian law enforcement and resources on mental health calls is something the Sheriff’s Department says is a welcomed change.
”That is what I want and that is what I'm most happy about with Fort Hood,” said Sgt. Phelps. “They are embracing this and it’s working. They're having success stories about what has happened out there.”
For the MP’s this training is more than just a tool on their belt.
”I take a lot of pride in knowing that our team is making a difference every day on the installation and providing those mental health resources to individuals in crisis,” said CPT Toler.
Though Captain Toler and his team are responding to mental health calls every day, the Crisis Response intervention team is still in development, but they hope to be fully operational in the coming months.