A bill requiring mental health training for all law enforcement personnel was approved by the Illinois House of Representatives this Monday 112-000-001.
House Bill 375, proposed by Cook County Sheriff Thomas J Dart and sponsored by State Representative Laura Fine (D-17th District), amends the Illinois Police Training Act establishing rules and standards for police schools.
Under this law, referred to as Sam’s Act, an introductory course on mental health would be incorporated into the core curriculum training for all service officers.
The training would raise mental health awareness, help identify signs and symptoms of mental illness, depict scenarios of potential interactions between law enforcement and the afflicted and provide de-escalation techniques for crisis situations.
“I commend the Illinois House for passing this very important bill and am hopeful it will receive similar treatment in the Senate and on the Governor’s desk,” said Sheriff Dart. “With continued cuts to mental health services and astoundingly high rates of untreated mental illness, the need for this type of de-escalation training has never been more apparent.”
Any implementation costs incurred would absorbed by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board who oversees core curriculum content.
In order to increase the accessibility of the information to new and current officers, where possible, the introductory course will be available in the traditional setting as well as in electronic format.
Proponents of the bill include the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Board, National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.