Greenville Co. Public Safety Committee wants more deputies CIT trained

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Jermaine Massey died three weeks ago when deputies were called to his home on 3rd Avenue in Greenville County.

Massey called 911 asking for help believing he was on the verge of a mental crisis after telling the dispatcher that he had Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia. 

When deputies arrived, they said Massey had a knife and ultimately shot and killed him. 

His death has renewed a mission to get more Greenville County Deputies Crisis Intervention Team trained. 

On Monday, Greenville County Public Safety Committee met to explore ways to get more Greenville County Sheriff’s Office deputies CIT trained. The meeting started at 4 p.m. at County Square.

At the meeting, members from the Greenville Police Department spoke about their experience with CIT training. GPD has all of their patrol officers CIT trained as well as most of the police in the department. CIT became a focus at GPD after the death of Andrew Torres, a mentally ill man who died in 2010 after being tased. 

CIT training is a 40-hour free training hosted by the National Alliance of Mentall Illness, NAMI. 

Although the training is free, there is a cost associated with takin deputies off the road to get trained and paying them overtime to do the training. 

Sheriff Will Lewis released a memo last week asking County Council for more money to help train deputies. 

Council says they likely will not give the sheriff more money, but say they are looking into offsetting the cost of training. 

“If he will agree to get the training done, whatever the billing is, it’ll just bill to the county, and the county would take the invoices,” Councilman Ennis Fant said. 

Paton Blough, a mental health advocate, also addressed the committee to discuss policy suggestions. 

He asked for GCSO to appoint a dedicated command staff member to oversee CIT training. He also wants all county dispatchers to go through a two-hour CIT training course. 

NAMI says the training is essential in order to have better outcomes and keep the community as well as deputies safe. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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