By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — A group of local law enforcement officers and deputies graduated Friday after a full week of crisis intervention training that aims to improve their interaction with mentally ill people in the community.

Crisis Intervention Team training, or CIT, is a community initiative designed to improve the outcomes of police interactions with people living with mental illnesses and improves the safety of patrol officers, family members, and citizens within the community.

The programs are local partnerships between law enforcement, mental health providers, local NAMI chapters and other community stakeholders. CIT programs provide 40 hours of training for law enforcement on how to better respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis.

This is the fourth class that has graduated from the program, according to the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department.

“For the last five days our officers have been learning about major mental illnesses, auditory hallucinations, personality disorders and de-escalation along with a number of other topics,” the department wrote in a Facebook post. “The goal of the training is to improve responses to people in crisis.”

CIT programs enhance communication and identify mental health resources for assisting people in crisis. The Marathon County Sheriff’s Office, Marathon County District Attorney’s Office, Wausau Police Department, Everest Metropolitan Police Department, Rothschild Police Department, Colby-Abbotsford Police Department, Antigo Police Department, Shawano Police Department and North Central Health Care participated in the effort.

“Thank you to Northcentral Technical College for all of your help and support in making this week a success.”

Photo: Marathon County Sheriff’s Department Facebook photo