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MCSO aims to promote mental health awareness with $52K grant

The sheriff’s office successfully competed for the grant in December.
The sheriff’s office successfully competed for the grant in December.(Source: Muscogee County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 7:13 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded a $52,000 grant as it aims to promote mental health awareness among law enforcement.

The sheriff’s office successfully competed for the grant from the State of Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council FY 2022 Law Enforcement Training Program in December.

“Over the years, there have been many instances of public outrage over the handling of citizens in mental health crises by law enforcement,” said Sheriff Greg Countryman. “Those reform cries from the public, the health and safety of our staff during COVID 19, and the benefits of this training were the very reasons why the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office successfully leaped at the opportunity to apply for this grant funding.”

The following benefits are expected to be gained through a training partnership with the Pastoral Institute:

  • Promotes mental health awareness
  • Promotes Deputy/ Correctional Officer Safety
  • Promotes de-escalation
  • Increases Deputy/ Correction Officer sensitivity
  • Reduces liability
  • Training cost savings
  • Hourly/ overtime savings from sick time and call outs
  • Promotes retention
  • Promotes community outreach/ service connection

“The hope is that when officers understand their own emotional “stuff” and address it through various, effective, and well-known coping strategies, and practice good mental and behavioral self-care, they will experience less personal stress and better de-escalate potential volatile encounters without excessive force,” said Thomas Waynick, CEO/executive director at Pastoral Institute.

Officials say this training will be administered to sworn staff of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office this year.

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