In context: Adairsville Police officers already have saved one life this year thanks to special training in helping those with mental illness. Last July, a man threatened to jump from the Ga. 140 bridge onto traffic below on I-75. “I’m going to jump because nobody cares, don’t come any closer, I don’t want to talk to you,” he told them. Working together, Adaisville Police and others saved him. Please see a copy of the July 21 story below.
100% of the Adairsville Police force completes training
Media release: The Adairsville Police Department announces it has completed a pledge to improve response to those suffering from mental illness in their community. The pledge is part of an initiative called the One Mind Campaign started by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a 30,000-member professional association for law enforcement that provides training, technical assistance, and recruitment services. To join the One Mind Campaign, law enforcement agencies must pledge to implement four promising practices in a 12-36-month period to ensure successful future interactions between police officers and persons with mental illness.
In the law enforcement community, mental illness has become a common focus, with some departments estimating that as many as 20% of their calls for service are related to mental health declines. Chief Jones made the decision to join the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s One Mind Campaign because it was one of his goals when he took the position as Chief and the training received in CIT Class will help the officers achieve a more positive outcome with those experiencing a mental health crisis.
In completing the One Mind Pledge, the Adairsville Police Department established a sustainable partnership with Highland Rivers Health and NAMI. In addition, the Police Department developed and implemented a model policy to address officers’ interactions with those affected by mental illness and ensured that all of our officers received some type of mental health awareness training, with at least twenty percent of the department completing the more intensive Crisis Intervention Training.
In fact, 100 percent of the APD sworn positions have received the Crisis Intervention Training and all civilian staff have received training in mental health first aid. The 40-hour Crisis Intervention curriculum is designed by local agencies to train a team of specialized officers to respond to calls that involve individuals with mental health disorders or intellectual disability. The curriculum includes education on various de-escalation techniques as well as live role-play scenarios of officers responding to persons who need mental health assistance.
The greatest benefit in adopting all strategies of the One Mind Campaign pledge has been the knowledge it has provided our officers. We have already seen benefits from the training. In July 2019, two of our officers executed their learnings in preventing a man from jumping off the Ga. 140 bridge onto I-75.
For more information about the One Mind Campaign, please visit the IACP’s website: http://www.theiacp.org/onemindcampaign. For more information on the Mental Health First Aid course, please visit https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/.
Adairsville chief: Quick-acting APD officers, assists from Bartow and Gordon deputies and truckers, save suicidal man’s life.
Media release: On Sunday, July 21, at about 10:30 p.m., Adairsville Police Officers responded to a serious call on Ga. 140 where it passes over Interstate 75. Officers received information a man was on the ledge of the overpass and looked to be ready to jump off onto I-75. Once arriving on the scene, officers did locate a white male in his 30s who was in a dangerous position on the outside of the ledge of the overpass.
Officers immediately made contact with the man who refused to say anything other than “I’m going to jump because nobody cares, don’t come any closer, I don’t want to talk to you.”
One officer continued to talk to the man while the other quickly went into action, working to change the environment to minimize the chances of the man getting hurt. The Gordon County sheriff’s office assisted by blocking the southbound lanes of traffic while the Bartow County sheriff’s office worked at getting the northbound lanes blocked. As the man was more on the southbound side of I-75, Gordon County deputies worked at getting tractor trailers to stop under the overpass to lessen the distance the man would fall if he did jump.
During the time, the man came back over the ledge as if to move further along the over pass and both Adairsville Police officers sprang into action, quickly closing the distance and tackling the man without further incident. He was shortly thereafter transported to Cartersville Medical Center for further treatment and evaluation.
Chief Mike Jones commended both officers for their actions, the great assistance the Bartow and Gordon sheriff’s offices provided, as well as the drivers of the tractor trailers. One of the goals of the Adairsville Police Department has been to get all sworn staff certified as Crisis Intervention Officers. Jones stated that this training, “which is specifically tailored around the handling of people in these kinds of crisis”, was a contributing factor in the successful outcome of this incident.
“It is always our goal to protect people while enforcing the law, and the opportunity to save a life tonight was the pinnacle of achievement for our department,” Jones said.