Mississippi could expand mental health training for officers

Published 6:55 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Mississippi could expand training for law enforcement officers to respond to people who need mental health care, under a bill that’s moving toward consideration in the state House.

House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Nick Bain, a Republican from Corinth, on Tuesday said House Bill 1222 could be “life-changing” legislation.

Republican Rep. Sam Creekmore of New Albany said the bill would require all city and county law enforcement agencies to provide first aid mental health training for their officers. It also would require each of those agencies to have at least one officer with more extensive training for crisis intervention.

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The bill also would authorize the state to provide more court liaisons — trained professionals to help in court cases for people who need to be connected to mental health services. Creekmore said the state Department of Mental Health currently has the budget for 18 court liaisons, and that could be expanded to 50, depending on funding.

The bill passed the House Judiciary B Committee on Tuesday and will go to the Ways and Means Committee. If it passes the second committee, it will move for debate in the full House.