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Several law enforcement agencies train for how to deal with those in crisis

Drew Kelly

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Becoming a police officer in today’s age means a lot more than writing traffic tickets and making arrests.

It also means being able to problem solve when things seem tense and unpredictable.

Officers from several agencies, including the La Crosse Police Department, wrapped up Crisis Intervention Training this week.

Valuable skills learned in the three day session.

“A lot of it is how you approach a situation,” La Crosse Police Lieutenant Avrie Schott said. “Being aware of how you present yourself. Your body language is huge in trying to deescalate a situation because it impacts what a person in crisis is seeing or feeling.”

A person suffering from a mental health episode, or who is in crisis, might not always face charges.

“Officers wear all kinds of hats,” Schott said. “Ultimately our goal is to find the best outcome for that person in crisis at that moment, so it might mean health care instead of arrest.”

The program has been in place since 2006.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.