Police want flexibility with mental health training

By: Associated Press

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Police chiefs want lawmakers to adjust a 2016 law that makes them comply with national standards for mental health training.

The Providence Journal reports the “Mental Health First-Aid Act of 2016” requires police departments to receive nationally-certified training on interacting with mentally ill people.

A bill considered Wednesday would remove that requirement and allow the state’s Commission on Standards and Training to set the minimum standards.

Democratic Rep. Robert Craven, who sponsored the House version of the bill, says the current law essentially forces each department to pay an outside company for training. He says the chiefs wanted the option of providing the training themselves.

Sen. Stephen Archambault, a former police officer who sponsored the original law, says the bill shouldn’t proceed this late in the session without further study.

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