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Brunswick hosts safety training
Public safety groups began the second of a two-day crisis intervention training today to learn how to manage situations involving persons with a mental illness.

Brunswick Police Officer Clay Palmer was motivated to head up an initiative to bring the training here because of a personal connection.

"As a kid, my father was diagnosed with a mental illness," Palmer said. "I took this class and was so interested in it and worked to bring it here to Glynn County."

Palmer said patrol officers deal with persons with mental illness on a frequent basis and require special skills.

"This training is so instrumental in being able to bridge the gap and provide a better service," Palmer said.

The training includes role-playing involving dispatch, police and emergency personnel.

"We also toured Gateway Services, and it was just great," Palmer added. "It just gives us one more contact and helps us understand exactly what we can do for the person next."

That's the purpose of the training, says Carolyn Tinkham, co-president of the local National Alliance of Mental Illness.

"The training is really crucial to help someone de-escalate a problem," Tinkham said. "It is important to help get people into treatment they need instead of jail where they would receive no treatment."

Pat Strode, a visiting NAMI Georgia member, says hosting training in communities is important in updating the skills of officers.

The last such training in Glynn County was more than seven years ago.

Brunswick police, Glynn County police, Glynn County 911 dispatchers and Fort Stewart police were among those participating in the training.

"The good mix of people really brings all the parties together," Strode said. "This is invaluable training to learn how to help."

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