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Additional Mental Health Training Given to First Responders

Chicago police and firefighters are getting additional training on how to better respond to mental health emergencies.  The training comes in the wake of the U.S. Justice Department report on the Chicago Police Department that criticized those efforts as deficient. 

Officials say Chicago started implementing many mental health policing reforms before the Justice Department report.  Superintendent Eddie Johnson says the goal is to have 35% of the police department trained in mental health crisis response by the end of 2017.

The eight-hour, scenario-based course involves all stages of a call, beginning with 911 operators and dispatchers. Ninety percent of them have already begun training.

Johnson says the plan is to have already trained crisis intervention officers on each shift so they can be dispatched as needed.

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