SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -- Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Custody Deputies and professional staff at the County Jail are receiving mental health training Wednesday.
The training is to help officers and staff recognize and respond to persons experiencing mental health emergencies while in custody.
The Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office says they have developed the Behavioral Science Unit to oversee cases involving mental illness.
This is all in part of the agency's commitment in addressing the county's growing mental health concerns.
The Sheriff's Office says they will develop a Crisis Intervention Team and build community partnerships to help adopt restorative justice principles to divert individuals from the criminal justice system and into treatment.
Under the management of Dr. Cherylynn Lee, the unit has developed a Crisis Intervention Team training curriculum certified by the State of California's Peace Officer Standards and Training and the state's Standard and Training for Corrections.
The training will help deputies in the filed and within the county jail recognize persons in a mental health crisis, or experiencing a mental health emergency.
Over a thousand law enforcement professionals throughout Santa Barbara County have attended this training which focuses on recognition, de-escalation and resources available to properly and effectively manage these often-difficult situations.
The training this week will focus exclusively on the custody environment and the types of situations and incidents those working in the county jail may experience.
The Sheriff's Office says 25 Custody Deputies and professional staff are in attendance while 50 others have already completed the training.
Course presenters include mental health professionals, subject matter experts, advocates and others to share information from a variety of perspectives.
Santa Barbara County Behavioral Wellness, Santa Barbara County Probation, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Band of Brothers and WellPath have all contributed to the success of this training.