DENVER - A part of training for Denver police officers is to learn and to be able to distinguish different types of mental illnesses.
On Monday, mental health advocates awarded fifteen officers and deputies for putting this training into action.
Phil Canjar, director of the Denver Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is one of these advocates. Awarding the officers was a bit more personal for Canjar.
Canjar's son was diagnosed with schizophrenia a few years ago. It was police officers who found his son when he was attempting to commit suicide. They were able to stop him.
The Crisis Intervention Team training focuses on how to de-escalate crises with people who have mental health conditions.
Officers Reyes and Chaves were able to calm down a man with a gun when he was fired from his job. He shouted, "Just wait three hours and you will see it on the news!" Officers were able to get him to comply, found the gun in his sweatshirt, and took him to a hospital.
Officers Muñoz, Truong, and Perez convinced a woman to meet them at a fast-food restaurant when they found out she picked up her children from school after telling her mother-in-law that she was going to drive off a cliff. The woman was then taken to a hospital and the unharmed children went with their grandmother.
Officers Hassman and McNeil were able to convince a woman having a psychotic episode to drop a butcher knife she was holding to her stomach. She was then taken to a hospital on a mental-health hold.
These are the fifteen officers who received recognitions:
Officer Day Lapira, Officer Ryan Vogel, Corporal John Duran, Recruit Officer Margaret Barnes, Technician Susan Gann, Deputy Tyson Hicks, Officer Tony Montoya, Officer Javier Reyes, Corporal William Bastien IV, Officer Randy Chaves, Officer Ana Munoz, Officer Dat Truong, Officer Mardi Perez, Officer Nick Hassman, and Officer Brian McNeil.
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