Middletown Police Department Completes Mental Health Certification Training

In a significant stride towards community-centric policing, every officer within the Middletown Police Department has recently undergone intensive training to effectively respond to mental health calls, marking a significant milestone in the department’s commitment to community well-being.

Police Chief Anthony M. Pesare expressed pride in the department’s completion of the One Mind Campaign Pledge, an initiative offered by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Middletown Police joined a select group of approximately 180 law enforcement agencies nationwide in achieving this certification, demonstrating their dedication to enhancing public safety.

Pesare highlighted the pressing need for such training, citing statistics indicating that as many as seven or eight emergency calls out of ten in Middletown involve individuals facing mental health or substance-related issues. He emphasized the evolving nature of law enforcement’s role in adapting to societal changes, underscoring the importance of equipping officers with the necessary tools to navigate these situations safely and effectively.

“As I first started in law enforcement, the numbers we’re seeing today would have been unheard of,” Pesare stated. “But like everything else, the world is changing, and we have to adapt with it, and I’m proud to know we’re giving our police officers the tools they need to do their job safely and effectively.”

Under the One Mind initiative, each member of the Middletown Police underwent an extensive eight-hour program, including a Mental Health First Aid class aimed at enabling officers to identify and assist individuals experiencing mental health crises promptly.

Furthermore, at least 20 percent of the department’s staff received certification in Crisis Intervention Training, with 12 members completing the comprehensive 40-hour program. Additionally, the department has developed protocols for dealing with individuals in crisis, reflecting a commitment to fostering successful interactions between law enforcement and those with mental health conditions.

Pesare underscored collaborative efforts with Newport Mental Health to enhance service provision for those in need. Through this partnership, clinicians accompany Middletown Police Officers on calls to provide targeted assistance whenever necessary, further augmenting the department’s ability to address mental health challenges effectively.

“We’re very, very proud of everything we can bring to each call,” Pesare emphasized. “The safety of the individual, our officers, and our providers is the No. 1 priority, but through these partnerships, we’re now able to provide so many more resources than ever before to get people the help they need.”

Reflecting on the evolution of law enforcement practices, Pesare noted the shift away from punitive measures towards prioritizing medical and psychological intervention for individuals in crisis.

Asked for advice when contacting Middletown Police regarding mental health issues, Pesare highlighted the importance of communicating any potential safety concerns and assured community members that individuals in crisis would be treated with dignity and respect.

Pesare extended gratitude to the Town Council and Town Administrator Shawn J. Brown for their support and foresight in prioritizing mental health training for law enforcement, noting that their collaboration was instrumental in achieving the One Mind Campaign Pledge.




Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!