Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced that his office is awarding $60,000 in grant funds to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio (NAMI Ohio).
According to the Attorney General’s office, the grant money will fund Crisis Intervention Team or (CIT) training. It’s a 40-hour course educating law enforcement officers about handling incidents involving people with mental illness. Law enforcement officers will receive education about mental health disorders, the local mental health system, and some practical techniques for de-escalating crises.
Funding for the grant comes as part of a 2011 bankruptcy discharge with Richland Hospital in Mansfield, a non-profit, psychiatric hospital established in 1947. The hospital ceased operations in 2000, and the discharge called for the money from the sale of the hospital to be used by the Attorney General's Office for charitable purposes.
The issue of raising awareness among police officers of mental health issues was brought to the forefront locally in 2011, when Sheriff's Deputy Suzanne Hopper was killed by a man who had mental health issues.
In March, state senators approved a bill named in honor of Hopper. The bill was designed to give law enforcement officers access to more information about potentially dangerous suspects with a history of mental illness.