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Sacramento Police Wrapping Up Crisis Intervention Training

SACRAMENTO -- Sargent Ron Chesterman has been in law enforcement for 23 years. He's responded to all kind of emergency calls, but he has noticed a changed in the number of mental health crisis calls.

"When I first started here we did very few of these mental health kind of calls. Maybe one a month," he said.

Now, he says they come in daily.

So Monday morning, Chesterman and the rest of the Sacramento Police Department sat down to complete their 40 hours of crisis intervention training.

"Our ability to correctly perceive whats in front of us is not perfect," Dr. David Joseph.

The officers are learning new verbal skills and tactics to de-escalate dangerous situations with someone who may have mental health issues.

Joseph led Monday morning's course. His goal is to help officers get an understanding of what's going on in someone's head.

"Some of the most major mental illnesses that folks are going to come in contact with -- things like schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, depression -- to give them a better understanding of what those things are," Joseph said.

Video released three weeks ago by the Sacramento Police Department released three weeks ago shows officers using deescalation techniques to arrest a man armed with a knife and suffering from a mental crisis. It's this type of scenarios officers say they are seeing more often.

In the video, police were able to use their techniques to disarm the man and safely transport him to a mental hospital.

Back in January, the city council approved $750,000 for this training. This year, the city also approved funding for adding more non-lethal weapons to the force.

"We want the best possibility for positive outcomes as our officers interact in our communities with something we know they are going to deal with everyday," Chief of Police Daniel Hahn said.

So whether it's an officer fresh out of the academy or a veteran like Sgt. Chesterman, police are all putting in extra time in the classroom to be better prepared in the streets.

This is a good thing for us because again our job has changed so much that we've never had training like this before," Chesterman said. "This intensive so this is great."