TALLAHASSEE, FL— Senator Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach) has refiled SB 1192 Mental Illness Training for Law Enforcement Officers to address the way in which law enforcement officers respond to an individual having a mental health crisis. Representative Christine Hunschofsky (D- Parkland) has filed the companion bill HB 879 in the House of Representatives.
This bill aims to establish a mandatory continued employment training for law enforcement officers related to mental illness.
“Florida is not immune to headlines of police shootings involving individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. In recent conversations centered on police reform, it is imperative that we include discussion on the absence of specific law enforcement training geared towards dealing with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis,” said Senator Powell.
The mandatory crisis intervention training would include instruction on the recognition and appropriate response to individuals exhibiting a pattern of symptoms or characteristics of a mental illness or mental health crisis and an appropriate response.
“Additional mental health training would be a valuable tool for our law enforcement officers. The ability to recognize a person is in a mental health crisis, de-escalate the situation, and provide help or call in a crisis team will absolutely save lives and provide people the help and support they need. The mission of our officers is to ‘serve and protect’ and this bill absolutely does just that,” said Representative Hunschofsky.
Completion of this mandatory training counts toward the 40 hours of instruction for continued employment or appointment as a law enforcement officer already required under Fla. Stat. 943.135.