LASD opens county's first-ever mental health training facility for deputies in City of Industry

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Friday, August 18, 2023
LASD unveils new mental health training facility for deputies
The department currently has 34 mental evaluation teams that consist of a deputy and a mental health specialist, but Sheriff Robert Luna wants hundreds more.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The City of Industry is now home to Los Angeles County's first-ever Mental Evaluation Team Regional Training Facility.

The first-of-its kind facility in the 15500 block of Stafford Street is where Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies will be trained on how to handle calls that involve a person dealing with a mental health crisis and working with someone who has autism.

The facility will be equipped with three classrooms and interactive simulators.

Sheriff Robert Luna was among those attending Thursday morning ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility.

"This new training center will now serve as the center for autism training, along with other programs including crisis intervention and veteran culture competency,'' the LASD said in a statement.

Autism Interaction Solutions, an organization that provides education in autism identification, safety and communication tactics, will help lead some of the training sessions.

"We put them through some exercises that make them uncomfortable," said Kate Movius, the Autism Interaction Solutions. "Perhaps make them feel like what it would be like to have a sensory moment of disintegration."

Once deputies have successfully completed their training, they receive certification, the LASD reported.

The department currently has 34 mental evaluation teams that consist of a deputy and a mental health specialist.

Luna wants hundreds more.

This comes as his department continues to deal with the fatal shooting of an off-duty L.A. County deputy, who was killed by Fontana Police officers earlier this week.

Neighbors who spoke with ABC7 on the day of the shooting said the deputy was apparently having some sort of mental issue.

READ MORE | Armed off-duty LASD deputy dies after being shot by Fontana police on golf course

Luna said the department is still investigating what happened in that incident and the circumstances surrounding the shooting. He said the mental health of his deputies is a high priority.

"I've been the sheriff for Los Angeles County now for nearly eight months, and not counting this incident that happened in the last 48 hours, we have experienced three suicides, and that's not even counting the family members of employees," said Luna. "Suicide is a national crisis. It's something we need to pay more attention to. "

This facility will also be available to other law enforcement members and first responder agencies who want to take advantage of the training.

Along with first responders, the sheriff's department says this mental evaluation training facility will also be used by the military..

For the past three years, the Industry Hills Expo Center had been the site of more than 86 training sessions, the LASD reported. Before that, the classes were held at various LASD facilities.

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.