Locals Organize First CIT Training in Green CountyBy Katjusa Cisar
MONROE — Last week in front of his peers, Sgt. Larry Harkey of the Monticello Police Department talked about how a mental health crisis he encountered on the job affected him personally. He was called out to help a woman in a barn with a rope around her neck. “She was going to jump,” he said. He unarmed himself, then “walked up and talked her down.” The experience left him shaken, even though he had helped save her life. “For four days after, I sat and stared at a wall,” he said. Harkey was one of 28 police officers from across the state who gathered in Monroe last week for a mental health and crisis de-escalation training at the Green County Government Services Building. Dozens of mental health, social services and law enforcement professionals shared their expertise and resources over the course of the 40-hour training, designed to educate police on how to respond to people in crisis due to a mental illness and how to approach vulnerable populations like veterans, adolescents, dementia patients and the elderly.