Charleston-area law enforcement trained to diffuse psychiatric situation

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCBD) — A new South Carolina law requires every police officer to go through training to be able to recognize someone with a mental illness. They should be trained in how to handle the situation.

News 2 reached out to several police agencies in the area. Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Charleston City Police, North Charleston Police, and Mount Pleasant Police among many departments that already have a training program in place.

Berkeley County Sheriff Dwayne Lewis also has a mental health profession in the office from the department of mental health. Lewis says this team can be called to a scene at any time to help diffuse a situation. Lewis says it’s a way for people to get psychiatric help who may not have that help otherwise.

“There have been several situations where they’ve been able to get the person to voluntarily commit to a medical facility. That removes us from having to take any action which would be jail. They’re getting the treatment they need, the care that they need, and we’re not filling the jail up with people with mental health issues,” said Lewis.

Lewis also hopes to expand on the topic and provide even more mental illness training for his deputies.


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