(TRENTON) – Crisis intervention training prepares law enforcement officers should they need to respond to an incident involving someone with mental illness. With the goal to expand this training for law enforcement across New Jersey, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Adam Taliaferro (D-Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem), Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic) and Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson) was approved Monday by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.
The bill (A-4366) would require the Police Training Commission (PTC) to contract with the New Jersey Crisis Intervention Team Center of Excellence to assist and support counties in developing and implementing crisis intervention training. The PTC would require every county and municipal police officer to complete training.
Assemblyman Taliaferro, Assemblywoman Sumter and Assemblyman Mukherji released the following joint statement:
“Just as race is often a factor in fatal encounters with police, mental illness can also play a role. At least 25 percent of people who are shot and killed by police officers nationwide suffer from acute mental illness. People with untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be fatally shot by police.
“When officers respond to an incident involving someone struggling with their mental health, especially someone going through a psychiatric crisis, they should know how to deescalate the situation and help the person however they can. This bill will ensure all municipal and county officers are trained in how they can appropriately and safely respond to and help people with mental illness.”