All this week, law enforcement personnel in Missoula County have been receiving specialized training in mental health crisis intervention at the National Guard Armory.

Missoula Police Detective Ben Slater said personnel from several different agencies have been receiving the training from mental health agencies and their representatives.

"We have law enforcement officers from the Missoula Police Department and the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, as well as some of the other law agencies here in the state," Slater said. "We also have detention officers, probation and parole officers, and a lot of people from the mental health community. We also have social workers, folks from the Poverello Center and from the Western Montana Mental Health Center."

Slater gives a capsule description of the training officers are receiving.

"Oftentimes our first responders deal with folks within our community who are in a state of crisis," he said. "This class specifically focuses on those with a mental health issue, whether it's a mental health diagnosis, an individual with a traumatic brain injury, or someone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It helps give these line officers and social workers the skills and abilities to help to try to bring these individuals out of crisis, so they can start directing them to services within our Missoula community."

Slater said the accredited course is 40 hours in length, and began Monday morning, April 11 and will conclude on Friday, April 15.