Spindletop Center Collaborates with LIT Police Academy for Mental Health Officer Course

Published 4:56 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

To The Leader


BEAUMONT, Texas — Spindletop Center’s Crisis and Intake Unit and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Program collaborated with Lamar Institute of Technology’s Police Academy to host a 40-hour Mental Health Officer Course on January 7-11.

This course was presented at no cost to the community’s local law enforcement agencies.

During the course, training was provided to 18 peace officers, who became new mental health peace officers in Orange County, Jefferson County, Hardin County, and Chambers County Sheriff’s Offices, and the Beaumont, Port Arthur, Vidor, and Lamar Police Departments.

One out of three people brought to the hospital in a crisis is brought by a peace officer.

The purpose of the Mental Health Officer Course is to further inform and educate the officers in the area of mental health and issues pertaining to serving as a mental health peace officer. The course also includes advanced crisis intervention training.

The Texas Legislature in 1993 a goal of at least one special officer for mental health assignment in each county. It also requires mental health and intellectual and developmental disability authorities to assist local law enforcement agencies in their desire to certify such officers.

This allows the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement in Section 415.037 Government Code to certify officers, issue achievement or proficiency certificates, and establish rules for training, testing and certification.

The course is the largest Mental Health Officer Course taught in Southeast Texas, and the next opportunity is currently being planned for August 5.

“The officers that attended this course left with enthusiasm to bring back the knowledge they received in class,” said Thomas Smith, crisis prevention specialist at Spindletop Center. “This collaborative effort between behavioral health professionals and local law enforcement agencies is an excellent resource for the community.”