BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A detective on administrative leave for his involvement in an officer-involved shooting has not completed a widely-recognized training program for emergency responders and mental health situations.
Crisis Intervention Team training, offered by Coastal Care, is a 40-hour course that teaches first responders about the signs and symptoms associated with mental health.
Kate Murphy, Member Communications Specialist for Coast Care, said the program relies on law enforcement officers and mental health experts to teach the coursework, which includes role-play scenarios.
Agencies can offer their own in-house training, but CIT training is a internationally-recognized model, according to Murphy.
Detective Bryon Vassey with Southport Police Department is currently on administrative leave for his role in the officer-involved shooting that claimed the life of 18-year-old Keith Vidal.
Vassey has not completed CIT training, according to SPD Chief Jerry Dove. He said several of his officers have, but not all of them because of the size of his force.
"I can't send them all at once," Dove said Tuesday afternoon.
There is no recertification process for officers, but Murphy said there are refresher courses available. She added that the first issue of a newly created news letter was just sent out to officers who have completed training.
J. Michael McGuinness, who is representing Officer John Thomas with Boiling Spring Lakes Police, in this case said he expects first responders to encounter more situations involving mental health.
"It seems we've got a very stress laden society," he said. "We have individuals with all sorts of, not just mental but physical, conditions that can impact their behaviors."
BSLPD Chief Brad Shirley shared a release earlier Tuesday that said all of his officers cleared an international investigation into their handling of the officer-involved shooting.
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