Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil says local deputies are committed to strengthening their ability to respond to mental health emergencies.
Sheriff’s deputies are trained in a 40-hour crisis intervention program by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Still, McNeil says he wants every deputy to be prepared to handle situations involving special needs residents.
“That has been perhaps the one area that most law enforcement agencies across the country are focused on – to try to make sure we have the training where we respond to these circumstances and situations," McNeil says. "We’re going to broaden that. We’re going to continue to embrace it.”
On Wednesday a Miami officer who shot an autistic man’s unarmed caretaker was charged with attempted manslaughter. In the Florida Legislature, a bill requiring autism awareness training for law enforcement officers has passed the House and is being debated on the Senate floor.