Kane County will hold its second, weeklong Crisis Intervention Training session for 26 police officers this month.
State's Attorney Joe McMahon said Tuesday he is pleased with the training, and CIT officers can be called to assist other neighboring departments to help de-escalate situations involving the mentally ill.
By the end of the next session Dec. 1, the county will have trained 52 officers.
"Our goal is to have four more next year," McMahon said. "These programs have led to a decrease in law enforcement injuries during these events."
During the week of Oct. 16, 26 officers from Aurora, Batavia, Carpentersville, Elgin, Geneva, the state police, Kane County sheriff's office, North Aurora, St. Charles, Sleepy Hollow, Sugar Grove, Wayne and West Dundee completed the training.
It was held with help of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. Each weeklong session costs between $7,000 and $8,000 as the county must hire actors to create situations, speakers and some equipment.
At the last session, participants wore headphones to simulate what a person who is mentally ill might hear and perceive if an officer were talking to them. McMahon said putting officers in the position of a person who is "hearing voices" can help them relate and empathize better during a tense situation.
"Until you experience that firsthand, it's very difficult to gauge the challenges," McMahon said.
McMahon said he expects area departments to call in CIT certified officers from neighboring departments if they are needed, similar to how departments share resources for the county's Major Crimes Task Force. McMahon sees the training as teaching strategies that can be used in a variety of encounters.
"It has been used in other situations," he said. "I think there will be a lot of carry-over."
National CIT training curriculum was developed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the University of Memphis CIT Center, CIT International and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.